Saturday July 13th, 2024 8:49PM
6:33PM ( 2 hours ago ) News Alert

Class 6A state finals: NoFo embracing underdog role in hunt for first state title

By Bo Wilson | Video by Seth Chapman

COAL MOUNTAIN, Ga. — When Marist rallied back to beat No. 1 River Ridge in the Class 6A semifinals last week, the Lady War Eagles immediately became the favorite to win the state title. 

Meanwhile, the team ranked No. 2 all season long suddenly became the underdog. 

North Forsyth head coach Brad Kudlas has used that as motivation all week leading up to the Class 6A state title game, set for 5:30 p.m. vs. Marist at the Macon Coliseum in Macon, Ga. 

"I feel like we've been the underdogs every time we win something," he said. "They'll say something about our competition, or they'll say something about the region, and that's fine. The girls love that motivation. State rankings don't mean anything. We want to be No. 1 when we're done playing. That's the goal."

The Lady Raiders (31-0) have marched through the Class 6A state tournament behind a stingy defense and just enough offense to get them the win. They've set records for most wins in a season, most consecutive wins, the first Forsyth County basketball program to make the state title game since 1959, and several individual player accomplishments. 

North Forsyth junior Abby Tarver and senior Addison Peck said all those doubters can't say anything now. 

"Everyone was like, they have an easy region," Tarver said. "But we've responded well to our competition all season and throughout the state playoffs." 

"To all the people saying anything different, I mean, we're here now," Peck said. "They can't say anything else." 

Nevertheless, they'll face a Marist team (30-1) with just one blemish on their record and one of the most dynamic sophomores in the country: Kate Harpring. She single-handedly rallied her team to an overtime win over top-ranked River Ridge last week with a 45-point performance. 

"Harpring is their best player, and she can go off (like we saw on Saturday)," Kudlas said. "So, it's going to take a collective team effort. We can't necessarily focus on one player because they have several really good players. We're going to have to play team defense as a unit. We've been preaching that all season long. We don't have these big superstars like some of the other teams have. We have 12 people who want to play hard together and who get after it. When we put any five out there, they're going to be a unit, and when they're a unit, special things happen." 

HOW DID THEY GET THERE

The Lady Raiders opened the Class 6A tournament with a convincing 48-16 win over Alexander. They knocked off Sequoyah in the second round, 45-28. They rallied back twice against Woodward Academy to win, 61-49 in the quarterfinals, and held off Veterans, 43-33, in the semifinals. 

BREAKING RECORDS
Most wins in a season 
Most consecutive wins (31); the previous record was 20
Most rebounds in a game: Lindsey Pirkle with 18
Best coaching winning percentage: Brad Kudlas 86.9% (127-19)
Single-season scoring record: London Weaver (575)

SENIOR CLASS SUCCESS
The senior class has a record of 76-11 with three region titles, two Sweet 16 appearances, and one title game appearance.  

LADY RAIDERS, A PERENNIAL STATE CONTENDER

For over a decade, the Lady Raiders have been in the conversation, posting an 83.54 winning percentage. Since the 2012-13 season, NoFo has won 269 games while losing 53 and advanced to the state tournament 11 of the last 12 seasons, with six Sweet 16 appearances, three quarterfinals, two semifinals, and one finals appearance. 

FORSYTH COUNTY GIRLS BASKETBALL HISTORY

The mothership of North Forsyth, Forsyth County High School, holds the only state title in the county. 

Forsyth County, now Forsyth Central, advanced to the state title game twice in three years, 1956 and 1959. The Lady Bulldogs captured the 1959 Class A state title and finished with a 32-1 overall record. 

From 1960 to 1965, Forsyth County advanced to the semifinals and quarterfinals twice. 

In 1954, the Cumming High Bulldogs made the Class B semifinals. 

Elsewhere, the Chestatee War Eagles, under head coach Clarence Denard, advanced to the 1964 Class C semifinals. The South Forsyth girls made the Class 6A semifinals in 2014 under Keith Gravitt and
West Forsyth girls made the Class 6A semis in the 2016.

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  • Associated Tags: High school basketball, north forsyth girls basketball
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