West Forsyth rallied in the fourth quarter to turn back Parkland’s upset bid in the opening round of the Lash-Chronicle Holiday Classic last Saturday at Carver. The Titans closed with a rush over the final four minutes to post a 61-53 comeback victory.
With the win, West (7-1) advances to today’s quarterfinal round against Forsyth Country Day. Tip-off is 5 p.m. at Winston-Salem Prep. Parkland will face North Forsyth on Friday in a consolation game at Carver (3 p.m. tip-off).
The Lash-Chronicle is the showcase event for junior varsity basketball in Forsyth County.
Parkland, led by Javon Powell’s game-high 24 points, appeared to have the game under control. But in the fourth quarter, West Forsyth turned up the defensive pressure and generated enough offense to overcome a 45-37 deficit in the final eight minutes of play. Luke Downs hit back-to-back three-pointers to complete a 13-1 run as the Titans took a 51-49 lead with 4:47 remaining.
West Forsyth, the No. 6 seed, slowly pulled away in the closing minutes by sinking enough free throws to put the game away. Parkland, in the meantime, self-destructed. The Mustangs had opportunities to stay in contention, but missed free throws, poor passing and unforced turnovers conspired to seal their fate.
“We didn’t do a very good job of executing tonight,” said Jeffrey Williams, West Forsyth coach. “But the effort was always there. The most important thing is that they never quit. We’ve played Parkland earlier this season, and now, they’re so much better.”
Downs came off the Titans bench to deliver a team-high 18 points. Tyson Payne contributed 15 points and consistently created problems for the Mustangs defense with his dribble-penetration and passing. Schien Lindsay played a strong game inside with 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots.
For most of the game, 11th-seeded Parkland looked like a team on the verge of finally ending its winless streak and pulling off the tournament’s biggest upset. The Mustangs’ chances for victory started to evaporate when three of their prime contributors – Brian Leak, Ronald Santiago and Powell – were victimized by foul trouble. Santiago finished with 11 points.
“When our backcourt got into foul trouble, that left us in a depleted state,” said Parkland Coach Shawn Smoot, whose team is now 0-9. “The bottom line is that we unraveled in the fourth quarter. We’re coming along, and we’re still striving to get our first taste of victory.”