No doubt, East Forsyth is the clear-cut No. 1

No doubt, East Forsyth is the clear-cut No. 1
February 25
00:00 2016
Above: Photos by Craig T. Greenlee- Photo by Craig T. Greenlee Connor Sparrow (33) was the true centerpiece for East Forsyth this season.


East Forsyth needed every bit of resolve it could muster in beating Northwest Guilford in its JV basketball season finale two weeks ago. The Eagles found a way to hold steady in the closing seconds to take a 67-66 victory. With the win, they claimed sole possession of first place in the Piedmont Triad 4-A Conference.

That wasn’t the only bonus, though. East Forsyth finished up with a 19-2 record overall, which is the best among their JV counterparts in Forsyth County.

In other words, the soaring Eagles are the undisputed kings in the county for this season.

Aside from orchestrating an inspired run in winning the Lash-Chronicle JV tournament in December, East Forsyth (9-1 in the PTC) dominated all year. The only other county school that could’ve challenged the Eagles was Mount Tabor, which ended its season at 18-3. This is the second year in a row that East Forsyth has finished first in its conference.

At the junior varsity level, there are no officially-recognized conference champions. In this case, it’s a mythical championship for the first-place finishers.

“I take my hat off to our guys,” said coach Rodney Minor. “They’re a great group who came to practice every day and worked hard. They deserve all the credit. I’m just blessed to coach a group of guys like that. I’m going to love seeing them play in the future.”

In the season-ender against Northwest Guilford, the outcome wasn’t decided until the final buzzer. East Forsyth went up 65-60 with a little under two minutes left in the fourth quarter, but the Vikings managed to stay in contention.

Connor Sparrow of East Forsyth provided what proved to be the game-winning points when he converted a pair of free throws to put the Eagles up 67-63. Northwest Guilford answered with a 3-pointer by Jacob Riddles to make it a one-point game with .7 seconds left remaining.

On the next sequence, East Forsyth successfully inbounded the ball to end the game and claim the victory. Sparrow led the Eagles with 22 points, which included eight of his team’s 16 points in the fourth quarter. Tanis Samuels performed well at both ends and contributed 18 points to the cause. Josh Mahaffey added 13 points and Josh Wiley finished with nine points.

Northwest Guilford (8-2 PTC) got a game-high 25 points from Landon Sutton and Riddles was next with 19. Thomas Smith rounded out the double figures scoring with 11 points.

“I’m proud of the way we finished the season,” said Minor. “Our guys fought from the beginning of the game to the end. We got off to a very fast start (14-0 in the first quarter). But I knew they would put together a run and push back. We played hard, played smart and ultimately, we came out on top.”

Over the final three minutes of the fourth quarter, East Forsyth held the lead and slowed the pace of the game by spreading the floor and taking time off the clock. During that stretch, the Eagles showed patience in running their offense. But most importantly, they hit enough foul shots to keep the lead.

“We had the lead, so there was no reason to play fast-paced, especially with them playing a packed-in zone,” said Minor. “We spread them out, which made them guard us. As a result, we either got wide-open looks, or we went to the foul line. At the end of the game, we were able to knock down free throws and make lay-ups.”

In retrospect, the Eagles showing at the Lash-Chronicle proved to be a positive sign of good things to come for the entire season. During that holiday run, East Forsyth won each of its four tournament games by double digits.

“Entering the Lash-Chronicle, they were hungry and they wanted it,” said Minor. “Then we got used to winning by big margins and we got a little complacent, midway through the season. We had some games where we didn’t play well and we ended up losing one of those games (58-55 to Glenn in late January).

“That loss really woke them up. They learned that you have to come out and play every night. You cannot just show up and expect to win.”


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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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