Girls Varsity Basketball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: WARMACK LEADS EAGLES OVER NORTH; 63-42
The Eagles completed the regular season on their home floor on Tuesday night with a dominating 63-42 victory over North Stafford. The “good gals” were led by Senior Keona Warmack who put together a Senior Night performance with 16 points and 9 rebounds.
The Forge was never challenged in this one and rolled out of the locker room and into a quick 13-0 lead. The Wolverines half of the scorebook was blank for the first 3:38 of the contest before Jazmyne DeShields hit two free throws to cut the Eagle lead to 11. Early in this one the emphasis was clearly on pounding the ball inside and cashing in on quick points in the paint.
On the defensive end the Eagles were aggressive and impressive as they shut down the visitors, holding them to just a half dozen points in the opening frame. When the two teams went to the break, the forge held a 23-6 advantage,
In the second the Wolverines found some hot shooting from DeShields who had 20 points on the night to lead her team. The Forge continued to dominate at the offensive end as Zoe Alhanati came off the bench and hit a “BULLS-EYE” 3 pointer, and then on the next possession hit a floater from 15 ft. with 2:20 left until the break extending the Eagle lead to 30-11.
The teams went back and forth late, getting a couple of buckets from Jenna Grey late. The Wolverine response came from a 3-pointer from DeShields and a buzzer beater by Maggy Duckett that sent the two teams to the halftime break with the Forge leading 37-19.
Coming out of the locker room North Stafford was held in check on the offensive end finally breaking a scoring drought with a put back by Desiree Roy with 4:35 left in the 3rd quarter. The Eagle went on a run led by Warmack, Tenia Brown and Alex Sullivan as the Forge stretched the lead to 42-24. The second half of the third was the best stretch of basketball of the game, as the teams went back and forth, answering their opponents runs. North got back to back 3’s from Deshields and that was followed up by another bomb from Duckett. Forge would answer with a couple of “BULLS-EYES” of their own from Warmack and Cameren Downs and the Eagles led 50-30 with 1:30 left in the quarter. After a 3 pointer from Lia Cevallos, Alex Sullivan scored on the next three Forge possessions, sending her team into “winning time” with a 54-33 advantage.
The final frame the Forge gym went cold as the teams shared the stat sheet with missed shots and turnovers. The game was well in hand and the Eagles started to set their sights on the Senior Night ceremony and the upcoming regional tournament.
The Forge will travel to Riverbend on Monday night @ 6pm and face the Bears for the fourth time this season. The Bend took the District regular season title this season, ending the Eagles reign of titles in the process. These two teams know each other all too well, and after the Forge beat the Bears in the finals of the pre-season tournament, Riverbend has taken the last two meetings to earn the home game.
NORTH STAFFORD 66
COLONIAL FORGE 74
The Eagles captured their 9th win in a row on Tuesday night on the home hardwood and along with it, came the regular season Commonwealth District Championship. The “good guys” closed out the regular season with a 74-66 victory over the North Stafford Wolverines. The Eagles are headed to the post season with a 10-2 district mark, and a 13-8 record overall. “It feels good to see the growth of my guys”, said Head Coach Anthony Mills post game. “I think the kids bought into what we were selling, and I take my hat off to my team and my coaching staff”.
Sometimes the emotions of Senior Night games can cause a negative effect on teams. The graduating players (and a manager) were honored at the start of the game for their contributions to Forge Basketball. If there is one thing we have learned about this group this season, it’s that not much phases them. They are a lunch pail type of team that comes to work every day and tries to get it done. “It’s a business” Mills said. “And it’s about doing this together because at the end of the night the win column says “FORGE BASKETBALL”, it doesn’t say an individual name”.
This one started in front of a large raucous crowd with both student sections in full throat. North opened up the scoring with a 3-pointer by Elisha Brown and kept the lead for the majority of the quarter. Each time the Eagles would make a run, the Wolverines had an answer early. The visitors held a 21-15 lead with 1:23 left in the opening frame when Elijah Sarratt took the rock to the tin and got the hoop and the harm. The Forge’s Josiah Jones buried a “BULLS-EYE” BOMB with 48 seconds left in the quarter to tie the game at 21-21. After a North miss, the Forge offense pushed the ball up the floor and found Martin Kawa in the corner for a buzzer beater that gave the Eagles a 24-21 lead at the break.
Early in the second quarter the two offenses were less than efficient as we went scoreless until Javon Swinton hit a jumper to cut the lead to two. The scoring picked up from there as the two teams went back and forth, with North knotting the game up at 29-29 on a basket by Ray Jones with 3:10 left until halftime. Up and down we went late until Brown buried a 3-pointer with 58 seconds left giving North a 36-35 lead. After Josh Sarratt hit one of two shots from the charity stripe to tie the contest, the next possession saw Brother Elijah ignite the Forge GREEN WALL with a “BULLS-EYE” from the left elbow extended at the buzzer to send the Eagles to the locker room leading 39-36.
In the third quarter the quality of play hit a lull early again with the Eagles leading 42-37. During the stretch, the Eagles missed their next half dozen attempts and the Wolverines weren’t much better clanging 5 consecutive possessions off the iron. The Eagle offense rose up on buckets from L.T. Woods, and Kawa and when Nick Ellington was fouled on a drive with 1:40 left in the third, the GREEN WALL serenaded the Wolverines with a chant of “THEY DON’T WANT IT”! Ellington hit one of two free throws and then followed that up with a “BULLS-EYE” from the corner that sent the Forge to the bench leading 52-48 at the end of three.
“Winning time” saw the Eagles outscore the Wolverines 22-18 as Josh Sarratt scored 13 of his team high 17 points to put this one in the W column. The Forge lead hung around the six or eight point plateau as the SWARMING Eagle defense put the clamps down on North late. When Antonio McIlwain hit a jumper and was fouled with 2:11 left, the Eagles had a 10 point lead at 68-58. In the final two minutes the Forge formed a conga line on the way to the charity stripe that prompted the GREEN WALL into a chorus of the famous “WE RUN STAFFORD” chant that closed out a perfect night of basketball at the Forge.
The Eagles have earned the #2 seed in the upcoming 6B Regional Tournament that starts at home on Monday night against another familiar foe, the Riverbend Bears. The Forge has handled the Bears twice already this season, but it’s like that old saying, “it’s hard to beat a team three times in one season”….but that is exactly what the Eagles task is.
CULTURE SHOCK VS. CULTURE CHANGE: The Eagle program has fallen on hard times recently (culture shock), and it’s been documented that the start of this season wasn’t much to write home about....but now the culture has changed. Another old saying goes, “it’s not how you start, and its how you finish….because EVERYBODY looks good at the starting line". The seniors on this team now have a chance to write their own part of Forge history. “I asked them early how they wanted to be remembered”, said Mills. The style of play the Eagles are bringing to the post season comes with two warnings for opponents…you better be in shape, and you better be able to handle pressure. For the first time since 2015 the Eagles have a district title, and are looking for more.