While it may not seem like it in the immediate aftermath of a close, home loss, defeat can sometimes be just what a team needs.
The West Forsyth girls’ last two performances would back that up. Friday’s two-point loss to Lambert was one they wanted to forget, sure, but the Lady Wolverines looked refreshed in Tuesday’s 74-65 win at region leaders South Forsyth.
With Maryland head coach Brenda Freese in attendance, Lady Terps commit Jenna Staiti scored 41 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. The junior center scored West’s (19-5 overall, 14-3 Region 6-AAAAAA) final 10 third-quarter points to help seize control. Carsen Parker’s 10 second-half points were a major boost.
Sarah Myers — also a Maryland commit — scored 22 for South. Myers added eight rebounds, five assists and four steals. Shelby Threlkeld had 11 and Ally Welch added 10, but the Lady War Eagles shot just 5-for-23 from behind the arc.
“We were a totally different team tonight,” West coach David May said. “I thought we had a ton of energy and were more focused mentally and in tune with what was going on. That’s the team we want to see as a coaching staff.”
South (21-3 overall) entered Tuesday with a 16-0 mark in Region 6-AAAAAA, two games ahead of North Forsyth and three ahead of West with two games to play. The Lady War Eagles play at North Forsyth this Friday; a win in Coal Mountain would assure South of the No. 1 seed in next week’s region tournament.
West still has a shot at the No. 2 seed in the region tournament (provided they beat Chattahoochee and South wins on Friday), given its season series split with North.
South’s style of play is bound to force turnovers against just about every team, and it did on Tuesday as West committed 24 turnovers. When West did break the press, Parker, Jane Ortlip and Abby Quincy were able to either score quickly or get Staiti the ball against single coverage.
“Our girls did a great job tonight of finding ways to get open off the ball and getting the ball to the right people in good positions,” May said. “Against them, you have to score off the press break and be aggressive right away.”
West led by three at halftime, but six quick Staiti points in the third quarter to push the margin to nine at 51-42.
South drew within two at 57-55 early in the fourth quarter, but Parker, Staiti and Hayla Seitz sparked an 11-0 run. West closed out a big win with 10-of-11 shooting from the free throw line in the final period.
“Feels good to win, but we know that next week, we have to get it done,” May said.
West Forsyth girls 74, South Forsyth 65
West Forsyth 14 20 19 21_74
South Forsyth 13 18 17 17_65
West Forsyth: Staiti 41; Ca. Parker 12; Ortlip 7; Quincy 6; Seitz 4; Con. Parker 2; Rodriguez 2.
South Forsyth: Myers 22; Threlkeld 11; Welch 10; Dreslinski 9; Storms 9; Jonassen 4.
South Forsyth boys 46, West Forsyth 41
Despite what had been more than 30 of its most frustrating, perplexing minutes played this season, West Forsyth still was in a one-possession game.
The Wolverines trailed South Forsyth by three with the ball and 1:15 remaining, but a chance to tie or draw closer went begging — a three-point attempt from the wing was no good and a follow-up attempt got blocked.
South went the other way with the block, and Chandler Strall’s layup with 1:05 to go would be the difference as the War Eagles closed out West, 46-41, on Tuesday night.
Evan Cole led South (8-16 overall, 7-10 Region 6-AAAAAA) with 13 points and Zach Sewing added 11 (nine in the first half on a trio of three-pointers). Thomas McClellan scored nine and played rugged defense inside on West’s Jimmy Staiti, who finished with a game-high 18.
West (10-13, 6-11) fell behind by as many as nine in the second half, but Cam Macer’s and-one with 3:48 left and Jeremy Magee’s steal-and-layup seconds later drew the Wolverines within three, but that’s as close as they would get.
West Forsyth 8 10 12 11_41
South Forsyth 12 12 13 9_46
West Forsyth: Staiti 18; J. Magee 9; Morris 6; Fuller 5; Macer 3.
South Forsyth: Cole 13; Sewing 11; McClellan 9; McCorkle 8; Schmitz 3; Strall 2.