West Forsyth girls finish fourth at Mary Garber Holiday Tip-Off Classic

Published 6:12 pm Sunday, November 27, 2022

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Titans were the No. 7 seed in Bell Davis Pitt bracket and upset No. 2 Reagan in opening round

By Jay Spivey
For the Clemmons Courier

The West Forsyth girls basketball team completed the Mary Garber Holiday Tip-Off Classic last Wednesday at Atkins and has already exceeded preseason expectations.
Inserted as the No. 7-seed for the Bell Davis Pitt Bracket of the tournament, West Forsyth finished fourth after a first-round win against Central Piedmont 4-A rival Reagan, the No. 2 seed in the bracket, and two losses, including Wednesday’s 37-27 loss to No. 5 East Wilkes in the third-place game.
“I think that overall, the tournament went well,” Coach Catrina Green of the Titans said. “My young kids came out and played well. And the last game before (Thanksgiving) is always hard because sometimes people are mentally checked out, and (maybe) physically. But I think overall, throughout the tournament they played hard, and it showed. Like I’ve said, we’re not a seventh-place team.
“Now, we finished in fourth place. I would’ve liked to have finished higher, but it showed that we can do it. I’m glad that we were able to prove some things, but there’s still some things we’ve got to work on before we start (this) week.”
The Titans will play on Tuesday at home against Southwest Guilford and on Friday at North Forsyth.
West Forsyth knocked off Reagan 40-29 in the first round, but in the semifinals against another Central Piedmont 4-A team, Reynolds, the No. 2-seed and eventual champion of the Bell Davis Pitt Bracket, upended West Forsyth 44-39.
Green said that her team was motivated after the low seeding they received.
“I think, especially that first game, a lot,” Green said of the motivation. “And in that second game just because those first two teams with Reynolds and Reagan, they’re in our conference. They’ve always been toward the top of our conference, so it’s always a battle against them. So, we used that as a lot of motivation, and I think we’re going to need that going forward in the conference.”
After seeing two conference teams in the first two games of the tournament, West Forsyth finally played against a nonconference team in East Wilkes, which finished 19-8 last season and 10-2 in the Northwest 1-A.
“I like it. I think either way we would’ve seen a CPC team in the championship,” Green said. “So, it gives you a different look at things because we know how the CPC teams are going to play, but it’s nice to see how other teams play and where we need to continue to grow moving forward because all the film is available, so people are going to watch sand say, ‘Hey, if this worked, we’re going to try it.’
“So, it gives us an idea of what we need to continue to work on before conference starts.”
Against East Wilkes, West Forsyth trailed 13-7 after the first quarter and struggled to score in the second quarter to trail 23-9 at halftime.
The Titans couldn’t get back on track before cutting the East lead to seven in the fourth quarter, but that was as close as they could get.
“I just think we missed a lot of shots,” Green said. “I think we’re so shocked we’re so open or somebody doesn’t come contest our shot and we shoot it fast.
“Playing three games over the last, I think it’s been five days, is also hard. And we haven’t had much time to sit down and relax in between games, so I think that made it hard, also.”
The Titans whittled the Cardinals’ lead to 34-27 after Alexis Waters hit a layup with 1:42 left. However, the Cardinals made three of their last four free throws to seal the win.
“We made a little push in the fourth quarter,” Green said. “I said, ‘If you play like that the whole game, you know, it’s a different outcome.’
“But I just think we missed a lot of easy shots that we just weren’t focused on.”
Freshman Jeanna Baskerville, the sister of Shakira, former West Forsyth girls player and current player at High Point University, and A.J. Baskerville, a senior on the West Forsyth boys team, led West Forsyth with eight points. Sophomore Emma Staples added six points and sophomore Campbell McClain chipped in with five.
“I’m settled in,” Green said. “I’m more fired up. I’m losing my voice a lot more now just because I see the potential we have in this team and these kids are starting to trust me. We just didn’t have much of that last year.
“So, I have a lot of confidence in them to go in and do their jobs. So, it’s just them going in there going out and doing it, and it’s just us continuing to get our respect back that we didn’t have much of last year.
“Comparing this year to last year, I think we’re way ahead of where we were last year.
“We have a lot more energy and positivity. These kids want to go out there and they want to do well. They want to work hard, and with last year as my first year, they were still learning to trust me and me trust them.
“So, I think the trust factor has been the biggest thing for us as far as our success so far.”