The last 31 visitors to Raider Arena had all done one thing: walked out with a loss to the North Forsyth girls.
Those teams — Sequoyah, for example, who blew a 14-point fourth quarter lead here in November — didn’t have one thing: Jenna Staiti.
Staiti scored 35 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to give West Forsyth a 49-36 win in Coal Mountain on Friday night, making the Lady Wolverines the first visiting team to win in Raider Arena since Alpharetta on Dec. 14, 2012.
At several junctures in the fourth quarter Friday, it looked as if North (16-3 overall, 10-2 Region 6-AAAAAA) was again going to erase a big deficit. Amber Jones twice brought the Lady Raiders within six on two free throws and a 3-pointer, but each time, West responded: Staiti was fouled while hitting a layup and added the free throw, then dropped in another layup on the next possession.
“We talked with our girls about North’s comeback against Sequoyah,” West coach David May said. “They’re going to hit shots, but we couldn’t let one shot turn into three or four and one turnover into snowball to three or four, but we were able to answer just about every time.”
If the first quarter had been any indication, North would have run away with Friday’s game. The Lady Raiders were their usual selves on defense, swarming the West (15-3, 10-2) guards and forcing turnover after turnover.
“We came out early and it was a big game for us, and we felt that and rushed a little bit,” May said. “Once our guards settled in to the flow a little bit, they got better.”
Staiti’s presence in the middle meant Abby Quincy (10 points), Conner and Carsen Parker, Jane Ortlip and Jasmine Rodriguez could guard North’s Caroline Bowns (10 points) and Lochlain Corliss (seven points) more aggressively. When North did get in to the lane, Staiti (four blocked shots) was there to discourage any shot attempts.
“Both ends of the floor, Jenna was a beast,” May said. “Even saying that, though, the other kids were just as good — especially defensively — around her, and they all rebounded.”
West closed the third quarter well — Staiti scored the final six for a 11-point lead — and ended the game on an 8-0 run. Quincy’s layup off the press break with 1:50 to play put the Lady Wolverines up 45-36, effectively sealing it.
“I was proud of how our girls fought for every loose ball, every rebound, which is what we didn’t do against them the first time, and it made a big difference for us,” May said.
West Forsyth girls 49, North Forsyth 36
West Forsyth 3 14 16 16_49
North Forsyth 4 8 10 14_36
West Forsyth: Staiti 35, Quincy 10, Ortlip 2, Rodriguez 2.
North Forsyth: Bowns 10, Corliss 7, Grindle 6, Jones 5, Ogbogu 5, Palmer 2, Pefanis 1.