NCHSAA Playoffs: Thomasville's pressure sinks Forest Hills

Feb. 28, 2013 @ 02:44 PM

Last season, Thomasville’s girls were ran out of the gym by Bandys during the second round of the 2-A state playoffs.
They were running once again Wednesday at home against Forest Hills, only this time they were chasing the opponent out of their gym.
The Lady Bulldogs ratcheted up the defensive pressure, stealing the ball away 21 times and getting 23 points from Christina Coleman en route to a 62-42 victory. Joslyn Spires placed in double figures as well with 13 points and seven steals.
“Pressure. We put pressure on them from the start and got transition baskets that gave us a pretty good lead,” said Thomasville coach Brandon Staton. “We got a cushion and then we were able to work on other things.”
Forest Hills had knocked out a very good Central Davidson squad first round, but the Yellow Jackets were frazzled by the heavy fullcourt pressure. After trading 3s with Coleman, Forest Hills turned the ball over several times. Coleman’s length was key at the top of the press, stealing the ball three times for two layups and an assist. Thomasville built an eight-point lead after one quarter.
“We always tell Christina she has got to play big and she is a big part of our press,” said Staton. “She got some steals and layups for us.”
Tonjai Everette reduced the lead to six in the second quarter, but the defenders kept flying at the Jackets and THS put a 13-1 run on them to lead 32-14.
Thomasville yielded nine of the next 11 points to the guests, but Spires hit Coleman on the break for her 14th and 15th points of the first half to give the Bulldogs a 36-23 edge at halftime.
With a berth into the third round seeming to be a lock, the Bulldogs had a slight letdown to start the third quarter. Shuntel Kirkland’s deuce on the break had the score down to nine and Staton was not pleased, asking for a timeout to change his team’s attitude before they let one slip away.
His point was made and the team ran with it. Cranking up the defense again, the Bulldogs outscored the Yellow Jackets 21-4 over an eight-minute span to hold a 61-35 advantage.
“I told them we needed to eliminate the mental mistakes,” said Staton. “Out of eight possessions at one point we had seven turnovers. We talked about valuing each possession and after that, they took it a little more seriously.”
On Friday, third-seeded THS travels to No. 2 North Surry (25-3) for a showdown in the third round. The Greyhounds scratched out a 38-37 win over Surry Central. Friday’s winner secures a spot in next week’s regionals to be held at UNCG.

Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or kepley@tvilletimes.com.