Forbush’s girls’ basketball team entered Friday night’s showdown with North Surry in possession of an impressive 20-3 overall record, and had a chance to force the Lady Greyhounds to share the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference title with a win.
The hosts weren’t having any of it, especially not on Senior Night for Lady Hound players Arin Bunker, Leah Eads, Lexie Eads, Maggie Hawks and Jessy Nichols. The five made up the starting five for head coach Shane Slate, and all saw plenty of court time in what became a 62-31 victory that emphatically secured the conference title outright.
North Surry (19-5 overall, 10-0 WPAC) completed the regular season with a spotless conference record and will be the conference’s top seed for the conference tournament and the upcoming NCHSAA playoffs. The Lady Hounds, who are the state’s eighth-ranked 2A team according to MaxPreps.com, have won 15 in a row.
North got off to a slow start, as the Lady Falcons (20-4, 8-2) used two 3-pointers from Calyn Davis and a turnaround jumper in the lane from Nicole Scott to jump out to an early 8-2 lead. Hampering North in the early going was that Hawks picked up two quick fouls in the opening 54 seconds, including one that bewildered many of those who saw it, including Hawks. However, there was little that the Lady Hounds could do but play on, and so they did. Tiana Shuff started the North Surry rally with a steal near halfcourt and took it in for a layup. Davis struck for the third time and Forbush led 11-5, but then Bunker, Taylor Duncan and Elle Sutphin all responded for North Surry. When Duncan sank two free throws with one second left in the opening period, North had run off nine unanswered points and led 14-11.
The Lady Hounds were just getting started. Scott remained a problem for much of the night, but Slate assigned Duncan to the dangerous Davis, and she held the Forbush senior sharpshooter to just four points the rest of the game after she’d scored eight in the first five minutes. In the meantime, Nichols opened the second quarter with a three, Sutphin scored the next time times down, and then scored on a putback after the Lady Falcons had called for timeout. With 6:06 left in the first half, North Surry led 23-11 and had gone on a 16-0 run over a six-minute span.
Scott ended the run with a three for Forbush, but it was all the Lady Falcons could do to limit the damage and trail just 30-20 at the break.
If you were a Forbush fan, the third quarter was one to forget, as North Surry went on another run and blew the game open. Mikaela Johnson got inside to score the first four points of the period, and while Scott again stopped the bleeding with a basket, Hawks and Johnson scored the next three straight for the Lady Hounds. North outscored the visitors 18-5 in the third quarter, and the game was effectively over, at 48-25, after three quarters of play.
Sutphin led North Surry with 13 points on a night when all but two of the Lady Hounds entered the scorebook. Johnson and Shuff added nine, Bunker eight, and Hawks, who never committed a third foul, had seven for the night.
Davis, with 12, and Scott with nine were the only Forbush players to account for more than five points.Both teams will now prepare for next week’s conference tournament and a likely third meeting.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.