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Basketball: Wolverines sweep Danes in key region clashes

The West Forsyth Wolverines hosted the Denmark Danes Friday in what became huge wins for both home teams.

The girls earned a 45-35 victory; the boys emerged with a triumphant 58-50 win.

It was senior night and that extra bit of motivation is just what the Wolverines needed. The boys were 2-6 in Region 6-7A play coming into the game and looking to bounce back off a devastating 18-point loss to Milton. And that’s exactly what they did against the top-seeded Denmark Danes.

The first half was very even for both sides.

Danes dominant center Keinan McFarlande would pick up two fouls early in the first quarter which would lead to easy scoring from West forward Sam Maynard in the paint. But West would suffer a heartbreaking loss as senior Brandon Goldberger would hurt his ankle after hitting a 3 and was not able to return.

Scoring came from all around for both sides, as they went into the half tied 22-22.

The second half was a defensive masterclass from West. The Danes were struggling to find a rhythm against the Wolverines defense, and even though senior forward Derek Pepin didn’t contribute much on the offensive side, he made his presence known on defense, stopping everything up top and forcing tough shots at the rim.

Maynard would continue his scoring display with 9 of his 21 points coming in the third quarter, helping West go up four points.

“Our guys really stepped up after Brandon went down," Wolverines head coach Frederick Hurt said. "Couldn’t ask for a better game from Sam tonight, getting great looks and setting up his teammates for easy opportunities. Pepin did outstanding on the defensive side of the ball.”

A couple of huge momentum plays occurred as time was ticking down on the clock.

A major steal by Denmark almost occurred but was tipped out to Wolverines junior point guard Braden Halloran, who pulled a shot from deep behind the 3-point line and drilled it as the crowd erupted. Then with only 12 seconds remaining in the third, Denmark's point guard would get a steal in the backcourt and finish at the buzzer to cap off a 20-point quarter and go up 42-36 heading into the fourth.

In the fourth, it was all West basketball.

The Wolverines (9-15, 3-6) went on a 16-1 run to start the fourth. The Danes (14-9, 7-2) were completely immobilized and weren’t able to get anything going, especially after a back-breaking technical foul on Denmark that crushed any hope for a comeback and dropped the team into a first-place tie with Lambert.

“It was an amazing win tonight," Hurt said. "Senior night is always special and brought just the extra edge we needed for tonight. We’ve been very up and down this season, did a lot of good things tonight but also some bad. Very happy with the way we played tonight and more than satisfied with the win tonight.”

The West girls also took home an impressive win against the Danes to secure the region's No. 3 seed.

In the first half, it was very slow, as both teams couldn’t get anything going.

For West, it was forward Molly Quincy who had a big first half with 10 points. One of those points meant more than the others, as she scored her 1,000th career point early in the second quarter.

Thanks to the major milestone point for the senior, West went up one point heading into the half, 16-15.

In the third quarter, Naomi Manoj had a nice scoring display for the Danes, making 5 out of the 14 points for Denmark. West's Mary Kate Leonard got on the board for the first time since the first quarter with six points.

The teams went into the fourth tied 29-29.

The Wolverines jumped out to an 8-0 lead to start the fourth and didn’t give it back.

West's full-court 1-2-2 press worked to perfection, as Denmark wasn’t able to find good shots. Zaria Smith hitting three 3s was enough to put Denmark away as West (13-11, 5-4) ended up winning by double-digits.

Quincy and Leonard each posted 12 points and eight rebounds.

For the Danes (6-18, 3-6), Emma Hempker led the way with 12 points. Hannah Lopez contributed 11 points, and Manoj totaled eight of her own.