Lady Falcons hold off Eagles’ comeback

Alexis Ball (12), Brittney Gammons (5), and Hailey Workman (24) defend the ball.

DOBSON — The Lady Eagles trailed by as much as 21 points in the first half, but a big push in the last 10 minutes got the home team to within two possessions before falling 66-59 Friday night.

Forbush led 50-33 after two free throws with 1:38 left in the third quarter. After that, Surry Central outscored the visitors 26-16.

Typically around this time of year, people have been entertained with Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol.” However, it was another Dickens classic in this game. In “The Tale of Two Cities” it was the best of times and the worst of times.

Central saw the worst of times in the game’s first 11 minutes as Forbush rushed out to a 27-7 lead.

Coach Mandy Holt called a timeout with the score at 9-2 and again at 13-2, but the Eagles couldn’t shake the early turnovers that let the Lady Falcons post a 22-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The only two baskets of the first quarter came from center Jordan Westmoreland on mid-range jumpers. However, she was whistled for two fouls in the quarter, then picked up a third before halftime. After six points in the first half, she had just one free throw in the second half with foul trouble.

Somehow the second quarter got even worse as the lead grew to 27-7 and then the largest margin at 32-11 with about three minutes left in the half.

Four different Eagles scored in that last three minutes as the team showed signs of life, but trailed at the half 37-18.

Forbush would keep the lead between 15 and 18 points before Central narrowed the gap to 13 at 44-31. Then with 1:38 left in the third frame, the score was 50-33.

Coach Holt called a timeout with 1:19 left. In that 79 seconds the Eagles scored six points to make it 50-39. Brittany Frausto had a three-point play, then on a buzzer-beater heave, Megan Atkins was fouled in the act. Standing by herself at the line, she calmly sank all three shots.

Atkins didn’t score in the first half. Every time the ball was passed to the senior, the Forbush bench would remind the defenders who she was with a loud cry of “shooter, shooter.”

In the second half she would move away from the 3-point arc and get some points closer to the basket. She finished with 10 points in the second half.

Power forward Jaylyn Templeton had a similar change in the second half. She scored once on a layup in the second quarter before powering her way toward the basket and drawing fouls in the fourth quarter. She had two baskets in the fourth quarter and went 7-8 from the foul line for 11 points in the final seven minutes.

Two of those free throws cut the lead to single digits at 60-51.

After Westmoreland split a pair of free throws, the senior was called for her fifth foul with 1:40 left and went to the bench.

The Eagles continued to press and cut the lead to 65-59, but there were only 10.9 seconds left. Forbush made 1-2 foul shots with 4.6 seconds left to ice the game.

Junior Mia McMillen was a catalyst in the comeback with lots of energy on both ends of the floor. She had only four points in the first half, going 2-6 at the line.

She had six baskets in the second half while attacking the lane to finish with a team-high 17 points.

Fellow starter Ariel Holt made 2-3 foul shots in the fourth for her only points.

Off the bench, Frausto scored 7 points and Martha Antunez made two foul shots.

The bench was Forbush’s X factor, tallying 22 points. Amelia Vanhoy scored 10 of her 13 points in the second half. Hailey Workman scored 7 more off the bench, and Kendall Irvin made both of her foul shots.

For the starters, Kyndall Ellison and Alexis Ball were in double figures.

Reach Jeff at 415-4692.