West Forsyth led by as much as 20 in the third quarter, but had to fend off a late-rally to hold onto a 62-51 win over Lambert on Saturday at home.
“I feel good that we were ready to play from the beginning, took control of the game early, then we had a big third quarter that really extended the lead on that,” West head coach David May said. “We just have to work a little bit on the last five or six minutes. I think we relaxed and they turned up their intensity, we kind of took ourselves out of the game late, so we have to make sure we stay into the game for 32 minutes.”
West center Jenna Staiti was unstoppable under the basket, scoring 14 layups within a few feet of the rim. Staiti finished 15-of-20 shooting for 32 total points, adding a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to help fend off a late rally attempt by the Lady Longhorns (1-3). Molly Williams led Lambert with 23 points on 7-of-18 shooting and 8-of-11 from the freethrow line.
Lambert trailed 36-20 at halftime, 48-28 with 2:37 left in the third quarter and 51-33 at the start of the fourth, but still battled back thanks to defensive pressure and a late surge from forward ME Craven, who scored six of her 11 points in the final period. Shayna Lawrence also helped with the comeback, adding three buckets late. Lawrence finished with 12 points after starting 0-for-6 from the field.
“We battled back really quick, extended our pressure and we able to get some turnovers late,” Lambert head coach Jaime Fisher said. “That's what we were lacking early. Once we were able to get a few steals and get momentum back, that's when we got back in the game.”
Lambert's offense struggled with shooting early. Williams, a junior, had 17 of the team's 20 first half points.
“She was our leading scorer last year. She does a great job. She's aggressive and takes it to the hole,” Fisher said. “We've had some other girls step up. Craven stepped up for us, Ashley Johnson is too. It's early. Hopefully we can get more to step up as well.”
Jane Ortlip added 11 points to pace the Lady Wolverines, including a 3-pointer and 4-of-5 shooting at the charity stripe. West will play Dec. 1 at Habersham Central, while Lambert will play the same day against North Forsyth.