Both the Page boys and girls basketball teams remained unbeaten Friday night - but just barely.
The Pirate boys relied on the inside play of center Marc Lewis to edge Metro 4-A Conference foe North Forsyth 55-52 Friday night in the Pirates' gymnasium.In the girls game, guard Tonya Braswell scored 17 points as the Pirates pulled out a 39-35 win over the Vikings.
The Page boys improved to 10-0 overall in the conference opener for both teams. The Vikings have dropped two in a row after winning their first seven games.
Because of its tall front line featuring the 6-foot-7 Lewis, 6-8 Billy Kretzer and 6-6 Chris Lowe, the Pirates have been able to overpower opponents on their way to an unblemished record. In North Forsyth, the Pirates were facing a team that had the size to match up with them.
The Vikings, whose tallest player is 6-foot-7 Jermaine Carlton, featured a starting lineup which included two 6-foot-3 players and one 6-5 player. Because of the even match-up, both teams went after each other like two heavyweight boxers in a 15-round fight.
Page and North Forsyth battled on even terms in the first half as the Vikings held a slim 31-30 lead at halftime. But the Pirates were able to open a four- to six-point cushion by going inside to Lewis in the third quarter. The big man responded with nine of his game-high 22 points in the quarter.
``Offensively, we went inside more in the second half,' Page coach Mac Morris said. ``At halftime, Marc said he wanted the ball and when he wants it we try to give it to him.'
``Lewis played well,' North Forsyth coach Olan Shuler said. ``We didn't contain him as we would have liked.'
The Pirates tightened up defensively to prevent Carlton from getting the easy shots he was making in the first half. But the senior center led a fourth-quarter surge with eight points in the final stanza as the Vikings closed to within 49-48 on a Carlton free throw with 2:10 left in the game. Carlton finished the night with 21 points and 18 rebounds.
The Pirates then went into a semi-stall offense which forced the Vikings to foul.
``We were not going to shoot anything but layups,' Morris said.
The Vikings put the Pirates on the free-throw line where they converted seven of eight free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Kevin Ryan added 14 for the Pirates. David Russell pumped in 13 and Donnie Petree contributed 10 for the Vikings.
``I knew before the game that North Forsyth was a good team,' Morris said. ``This game only confirms my belief.'
The North Forsyth girls gave Page, ranked 20th in the latest USA Today poll, their biggest scare of the season before finally succumbing to the Pirates. The Vikings led 21-17 at halftime against the taller Pirates but Page outscored North Forsyth 22-14 in the second half to push its record to 9-0 overall. North Forsyth fell to 7-2 in the league opener for both teams.
Stacey Boggs added 12 for the Pirates while Monte Jackson sparked the Vikings with 15. BOYSN. FORSYTH 15161012- 52PAGE 17131510- 55
N. FORSYTH - Jamie Foster 6, Tyrus Clark 2, Donnie Petree 10, David Russell 13, Jermaine Carlton 21.
PAGE - Pearce Landry 7, Kevin Ryan 14, Billy Kretzer 5, Chris Lowe 7, Marc Lewis 22. GIRLSN. FORSYTH 165 6 8 -35 PAGE 8 9 1111-39
N. FORSYTH - Amy Cole 2, Monte Jackson 15, Beth Kilby 8, Tammy Tindall 2, Rhonda Sudderth 2, Shannon Ivester 2, Sugar Roberts 4.
PAGE - Tonya Braswell 17, Quicha Floyd 7, Angela Cole 3, Stacey Boggs 12.