Jenna Staiti led all scorers with 21 points, Brooke Pirkle added 13 off the bench, and the West Forsyth Lady Wolverines earned a hard-fought 58-44 victory over North Forsyth Friday night in front of a packed house for the homecoming game.
West (13-3, 11-0) remains undefeated in Region 6-AAAAAA play at 11-0, and will face off with the region’s other unscathed team—South Forsyth—on Monday night.
Even though Monday’s matchup is promised to have a playoff atmosphere, West head coach David May doesn’t want his team to think of any region game more than the other. He was just happy to get past the pesky Lady Raiders. Entering Friday, West had won six-straight region games by a scoring margin of 16.3 points per game, but beat North by just one point last month. Friday was the third matchup between the two teams on the year, as they met during the Raider Classic at the start of the season.
“We’re not going to win a region championship right now,” May said. “We take this game we played tonight with just as much importance as the game we have Monday against South. With county rivalries, we know teams are going to bring it. I thought tonight was a great atmosphere, North always travels well and they play hard.”
The Raiders (11-6, 7-4) battled early, with the first quarter score just 15-12 in favor of the Wolverines. Already without two starters in guard Haley Simpson and forward Maddie Palmer, the Lady Raiders got into even more trouble early on when Cassie Markle, their best driver left on the floor, got caught in foul trouble while guarding Staiti in the post with her third coming right at the start of the second quarter.
North often sagged its defense into the paint to defend Staiti, leaving West’s guards open and forcing shots. While often times West’s guards were reluctant to shoot, as they got comfortable the shots began to fall.
“We tried to do the best job we could do on Jenna,” North head coach Erick Herrick said. “Then you have to give something up, and if they’re making shots they can be hard to beat. They were tonight. Jane (Ortlip) hit some shots, (Carsen) Parker did too. They’re just a good basketball team.”
Ortlip and Parker pitched in three of the team’s five 3-pointers, while Ortlip added four assists and Parker had five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
North got balanced scoring across the board, with Kelsey Johnson scoring 10 points off the bench, including two from downtown. Amber Jones and Morgan Grindle each hit three 3-pointers. Grindle added five assists.
North boys 42, West 27
North’s Chad Bureau led the Raiders with 12 points, while West’s big man John Peterson led all scorers with four field goals and five free throws for 14 total points, but offensively both teams struggled to find the hoop all night in what became a battle of defensive wits.
The teams produced just a 19-11 halftime result, then loosened up, but North pulled away in the fourth quarter. Tyler Koch scored eight points for the Raiders, who didn’t have another player score more than two baskets.
“We needed a win,” North head coach Brian Moon said. “I think they’ve been struggling too I guess. We did some good things tonight. Chad didn’t play near his best game. If you told me he was going to have an average game, I’d think we would have been in for a tough time. But we had some kids step up. Tyler Koch played well, Girard Amoya did a good job handling the ball. It’s always good to get a region win under our belt. We’re excited.”
“Basketball is the name of the game. It has to go in the basket,” West coach Jake Dickey said. “One of our captains was out with an ankle [injury], another starter had the stomach bug today. So we fought hard. We just have to hang in there and get back to work tomorrow.”