South Forsyth spoiled West Forsyth’s senior night on Friday, with the War Eagle girls walking away with a 50-40 win and the boys clawing their way to a 75-68 victory.
The first the West and South boys met, it left a bitter taste in the Wolverines’ mouth. South dominated that game from start to finish and walked away with a 79-46 victory, and West wanted to make sure Friday night was not going to be a repeat.
“You have to give credit to Coach Hurt and West Forsyth,” South Forsyth head coach Scott Givens said. “They’ve gotten a lot better. They came ready to play.”
South (9-16, 5-5) started the game sluggish on defense, giving West (4-21, 2-8) an early opportunity to take the lead. The first quarter, like the rest of the game, saw lead change after lead change. Junior guard Michael Zabetakis led the way from the jump for the Wolverines, scoring 11 points in the first quarter, including a buzzer-beater to give West a 21-20 lead at the end of the quarter.
South’s Evan Cole responded with an impressive first half of his own, putting up 21 points, pulling down five rebounds and recording three blocks to keep the War Eagles in the game.
The game was tied at 38 going into the third quarter, and it saw six ties and lead changes. Freshman Joseph Staiti had a strong game off the bench for West Forsyth, scoring 16 points, including a fall-away three-pointer to beat the buzzer and keep the game tied at the end of the third quarter.
South forward Evan Cole had a quiet night on the score sheet but contributed in every other area. He had a pair of blocks and assists in the fourth quarter to go along with six rebounds. South held a lead in the fourth quarter thanks to important free throws from Isiah Magee and Sebastian Mallory.
“An old country (man) told me one time… ‘You gotta make layups and you gotta make free throws,’” Givens said. “’If you can’t make free throws and layups, you lose close games.’ It’s very true, especially in critical times.”
The South girls (17-8, 8-2) trailed early against West (13-11, 3-6), facing a deficit as big as seven in the second quarter before ramping up their defense. South nabbed 12 steals on the night, breaking the game open with transition points.
War Eagles senior point guard Mari Jonassen started to heat up in the second quarter. She had nine points in the first half and 14 for the night, giving South a lead — one they did not relinquish — late in the second quarter.
“We didn’t seem to be very focused at the beginning of the game,” South head coach Keith Gravitt said. “She [Jonassen] understands her role as a point guard in getting her team started on both offense and defense.”