EAST FORSYTH - 15-15-11-24 -- 65 RJ REYNOLDS. - 13-14-16-21 -- 64
EAST FORSYTH (18-5, 9-1) Shemar Watkins 12, AJ Hall 11, Tyren Hairston 11, Brintley 9, Mahaffey 9, Samuels 4. Sparrow 4, Nichols 3, Wiley 2.
RJ REYNOLDS (16-8, 7-3) Tobias Johnson 17, Ian Henderson 12, Mysta Goodloe 11, Devin Ingram 10, Larry Borland 10, Clemmons 2, Murphy 2.
East Forsyth’s Savon Brintley sank two free throws with three seconds remaining to give the Eagles a thrilling 65-64 victory at RJ Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem Friday night, sealing the Central Piedmont 4A Conference regular season championship.
The Eagles survived a fierce battle on the Demons’ home floor in which neither team led more than five points and CPC’s top teams swapped the lead more than a dozen times, including three times in the final 30 seconds.
East, now 18-5 entering the CPC Tournament next week, led by five points twice the in the final quarter, the last at 57-52 with 2:27 remaining. But RJR’s Tobias Johnson, the game’s leading scorer with 17, completed a three-point play, then scored off an inbound steal to even the game at 57-57 with 1:13 left.
After an exchange of baskets & free throws by both teams over six possessions, the Demons Ian Henderson hit a spinning shot in the lane to put the home team in front 62-61 with 20 seconds remaining. Brintley drove immediately for a score on a pass from AJ Hall to put East back in front 63-62 with only nine seconds left.
Johnson then scored at the other end of the floor off a long pass to put RJR back in front 64-63 three seconds later. After an East Forsyth time-out, Brintley drove hard through the backcourt but was bumped hard by Johnson at the midcourt line & the final foul of the game was called with 3.4 seconds remaining.
With both teams long in the double-bonus in a game marred by 46 total fouls (RJR 26, EF 20), Brintley calmly stepped to the free throw line & made the biggest free throws of his young career to secure the Eagles’ first regular season title since 2013-14, when the team won the Piedmont Triad 4A Conference behind seniors Larry Curry & the late Riley Larue.
Tyren Hairston then tapped the ball away from the driving Demons’ Mysta Goodloe at midcourt & Josh Mahaffey secured the ball for East as the final horn sounded & the winners flooded the floor.
The balance & depth that has been a signature of East Forsyth throughout the 2017-18 season was prevalent against Reynolds, with five players scoring between nine & 12 points led by Shemar Watkins’ 12 & 11 points each by Hall & Hairston. The latter (with 6) led nine Eagles with at least one rebound, including two for baskets on the offensive glass, as the winners out-rebounded the taller Demons by six for the game.
With the win, East Forsyth earned a first-round bye and will face the winner of Monday’s West Forsyth-Reagan opening round game at 7:30p at RJ Reynolds HS, the site of this year’s CPC Tournament. Winners of the CPC semifinal games play for the post-season championship on Friday at 730p at RJR.
Courtesy of East Forsyth assistant coach Bill Armour