JOHNS CREEK — West Forsyth wanted to use the same game plan that allowed them to be within single digits of Alpharetta in the closing minutes of their first meeting on Nov. 20: slow play down to a virtual crawl.
It’s a plan others in Region 6-AAAAAA have undoubtedly schemed up for the Raiders, who finished 18-0 in region play. When put into practice against Alpharetta, though, well — it’s just about impossible.
Such was the case for the Wolverines on Wednesday night in the quarterfinals of the region tournament. Alpharetta harassed West on every shot, every pass, every dribble to build a 17-point halftime lead and stroll to a 59-30 win at Chattahoochee High School.
West finished its season with an 11-15 record. The Wolverines’ seniors — Jimmy Staiti (team-high 13 points on Wednesday), Cam Macer, Derek Morris, Courtland Fuller, and Jack Keller — ended their careers with the most wins by a graduating class in program history.
“They’ve helped elevate the program to where we can take the next step, because of the foundation they’ve laid down,” West head coach Jim Cook said.
Alpharetta’s length and activity gave West fits on both ends. The Raiders were able to force turnovers out of its full-court press, contest shots in the paint, and prevent the Wolverines from getting clean looks at three-pointers. In other words, Alpharetta’s style isn’t conducive to a slow pace.
“They really push you out of what you want to do,” Cook said. “When we got down early, I thought we forced some shots outside of what the game plan was. But, Alpharetta is just so tough.”
The Raiders led West by 11 after one quarter and by seventeen at halftime. Afam Maduka opened the second half with a layup and a 31-12 Alpharetta lead; as it would turn out, the winning basket.
UNC-Wilmington signee Devontae Cacok led Alpharetta with 23 points, Greg James added 11, and Jaylon Gamble tallied 10. Alpharetta will take on Johns Creek in Friday’s second semifinal, set for 8:30 p.m. at Chattahoochee.
Alpharetta boys 59, West Forsyth 30
West Forsyth 9 3 9 9_30
Alpharetta 19 10 14 16_59
West Forsyth: Staiti 13; Peterson 7; Morris 4; J. Magee 3; I. Magee 2; Freitas 1.
Alpharetta: Cacok 23; James 11; Gamble 10; Jones 4; Maduka 4; Winston 4; Carriere 3.