JOHNS CREEK — It’s getting to be that time of the high school basketball season when the strange and unexpected happens. Teams have played each other twice, and there’s not much coaches don’t know about their adversaries.
West Forsyth’s girls weren’t in on that memo. The Lady Wolverines beat Chattahoochee twice this season, in both instances by double digits.
Ask any coach, and they’ll tell you that beating the same team three times in one season is a difficult task. Not when you have Jenna Staiti. West’s junior center scored 33 points and added 13 rebounds, in just over three quarters of action, as the Lady Wolverines beat Chattahoochee at a canter, 61-33, in the Region 6-AAAAAA tournament on Tuesday.
West clinched a berth in the state tournament with the win. The Lady Wolverines will take on North Forsyth in Friday’s first semifinal (4 p.m. at Chattahoochee).
“Any time it’s a one-and-done scenario, you’ve got to be extra-ready to play,” West coach David May said. “Playing a team like that, you have to guard against any potential mental letdowns having beaten them the first two times and kind of just reset where you’re only focused on this game.”
Chattahoochee led just once in Tuesday’s quarterfinal when Aysia Key hit a three for the Lady Cougars for a 3-1 lead. Staiti, as part of her 19 first-half points, quickly tied it up; West led by five after one period.
May’s team asserted itself in the second quarter. The Lady Wolverines settled in, remained patient on offense, contested shots that had been wide open early, and closed the half on a 9-0 run for a 30-14 halftime lead.
“You don’t want to give them any thought that they have a chance to compete,” May said. “We made sure to get out to a good start so they couldn’t build confidence.”
The Lady Cougars managed a meager four points in the second period and nine in the third quarter, a stretch in which West scored 31. May said the plan was to play tight defense on Chattahoochee’s guards so that the Lady Cougars couldn’t control tempo.
Abby Quincy (14 points) and Jane Ortlip (nine points) had good afternoons for West. Quincy hit two three-pointers and Ortlip added one of her own, giving the Lady Wolverines an outside threat they have sometimes lacked and providing Staiti more breathing room inside.
“When girls like Abby and Jane step up and score efficiently, it opens up so much more for us on offense,” May said. “They did a good job of picking their spots to be aggressive. Jenna was really aggressive tonight, which is what we need out of her. She really set the tone.”
West Forsyth girls 61, Chattahoochee 33
West Forsyth 15 15 16 15_61
Chattahoochee 10 4 9 10_33
West Forsyth: Staiti 33; Quincy 14; Ortlip 9; Schlegel 5.