WS Reynolds 61, East Forsyth 60
EAST FORSYTH - 10-20- 9-21 -- 60 REYNOLDS - 14-12-19-16 -- 61
EAST FORSYTH (19-6) Connor Sparrow 14, Watkins 8, Samuels 8, AJ Hall 8, Mahaffey 6, Nichols 6, Hairston 4, Jones 4, Brintley 2.
REYNOLDS (18-8) Ian Henderson 19, Devin Ingram 13, Tobias Johnson 12, Borland 8, Murphy 4, Goodloe 3, Clemmons 2.
East Forsyth staged a furious rally in the final 90 seconds but lost to Reynolds in the championship game of the Central Piedmont 4A Conference on the Demons home floor. The Eagles trailed 53-47 with 1:27 left but rallied behind the play of Shemar Watkins to tie the game at 60-60 on a 35-foot three-point shot by Josh Mahaffey with six seconds left.
Reynolds inbounded the ball & in a sequence much like East’s last-second one-point victory (65-64) on the same floor against the Demons to win the regular season title, Tobias Johnson was fouled on the dribble at midcourt by Watkins with 2.2 seconds remaining and made the first of two free throws. He missed the second & East rebounded but a half-court shot by Jimmy Nichols bounced aways, giving Reynolds its 18th win of the season.
In their final rally, the Eagles got two free throws & then a fast-break layup from Watkins to cut the lead to 56-51 with 58 seconds left. After an RJR free throw, East drove the floor & got a layin from Connor Sparrow on a pass from Mahaffey to cut the lead to four with 39 seconds left.
The Demons again converted only one of two FTs & Watkins traded a length-of-the-floor layin for another 1-2 FT sequence for RJR at 5?-55 with 23 seconds left. Nichols was fouled & converted 2 FTs with 18 seconds remaining to cut the RJR lead further (59-57).
After another 1-2 FT trip by the Demons’ Treviz Murphy, East’s Mahaffey caught a pass from Tyren Hairston off the rebounded FT miss & nailed a long three-pointer from two steps inside the half-court line to tie the game 60-60 with six seconds left. Reynolds’ Johnson was fouled on the drive back up the floor with 2.2 seconds left & banked the first of 2 free throws in to give the Demons the conference tournament title.
East trailed early (14-8, 2:36 Q1) but scored 16 of the next 21 points across the change of quarters to assume its largest lead of the game (24-19, 5:01 Q2) & led by four at half. But the Eagles went cold in the third quarter while RJR’s Ian Henderson scored eight of his game-high 19 points, including two three-pointers, to push the Demons’ lead to as many as nine (56-47) before East staged its miraculous comeback.
Devin Ingram (13 points) & Johnson (12 points) joined Henderson in double figures for Reynolds while Sparrow led East Forsyth, now 19-6 overall, with 14 points. Hairston grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds for the Eagles, who will advance next week to the North Carolina 4A State playoffs as the CPC regular-season champions.
East is expected to earn a bye for next Tuesday’s first-round of the playoffs but will learn its opponent for next Thursday’s second-round playoff game at EFHS when the brackets are revealed by the NCHSAA tomorrow afternoon.
Courtesy of East Forsyth assistant coach Bill Armour