Young Forbush falls against Bandys
by Eric Lusk
CATAWBA -- Bandys knocked Forbush out of the girls basketball state playoffs 73-35 on Monday night.
But that Forbush even made a state playoff run this season is a noteworthy accomplishment
The Falcons turned over nearly their entire varsity roster after last winter's 19-6 campaign. All five starters departed -- including two to college programs -- and head coach Kris Stewart took a non basketball related job at Lees-McRae.
First-year coach Ashley Clonch inherited a team with mostly junior varsity experience but piloted the group to eight wins and a state playoff wildcard spot.
Three wins came against conference opponents, including an upset of third-seeded Wilkes Central at home in early January. Wilkes Central won its playoff opener Monday night, one of only two Mountain Valley 2A teams to do so.
"We have grown a lot this season on and off the court," Clonch said. "I am very proud of my girls. This playoff game was a sign of what is coming in the future. We are ready for a few weeks off and then get back to work for a much improved team for next year."
Bandys shot around 60 percent from the field in the first half Monday night, Clonch said. The Trojans outscored Forbush 17-2 in the opening period and 27-10 in the second, putting things out of reach early.
Bandys spread its scoring around to 12 players, led by Candace Mackie's 13 and Hailey Little's 10. Racheal Salmons led the Falcons with 10 points. Maygan Baldwin scored seven points, while Hannah Lineberry and Jessica Kite added five each.
Several Forbush players battled the flu between the conference tournament and the start of the playoffs, Clonch said. Despite the slow start, the Falcons were able to finish on a stronger note.
"I told them at half, I wasn't looking at the score, it was a new game when we get back out there and they played like it was," Clonch said. "We played very hard and put up 21 points."
Forbush will graduate just two seniors, Jade Burkeen (four points against Bandys) and Kayla Smitherman. Burkeen earned honorable mention all-conference. Baldwin, a sophomore, was first-team all-conference.
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