With a little less than a month remaining in the junior varsity basketball season, it’s clear that West Forsyth is the real deal. Right before Christmas break, the Titans pulled off a surprising upset of Winston-Salem Prep in the title game of the Lash-Chronicle Holiday Classic.
At the start of this week, West Forsyth was 12-1 and rolling. The only loss came in early December against East Forsyth. Since then, the Titans have won 10 in a row.
“Before the start of the season, I really didn’t know what to expect,” said Coach Jeffrey Williams. “My main concern was our lack of height, which could hurt us on the boards. But that hasn’t been much of a problem because we’ve been able to overwhelm people with our speed.”
West Forsyth also plays with a fierce determination which helps to compensate for its frontline shortcomings. The Titans grit was on full display in last week’s game against conference rival Reagan. West trailed the Raiders 15-3 at the end of the first quarter, but staged a furious comeback and won 63-61 in overtime.
The lack of inside size has forced Williams to play most of his players out of position. Swing player Dallas Lee, for example, is undersized as a power forward and center, but uses his quickness and athleticism to contribute at both ends of the floor.
“All season long, we’ve had several people to step up and it’s usually different people on different nights,” said Williams. “Most of the time, we’ll play 12 people, and out of that 12, we’ll have 10 people who score. With the roster we have, it allows us to push the tempo from start to finish.”
Jevon Parham, a sophomore shooting guard, is West Forsyth’s only double-digits scorer (16.1 points per game). Parham, the Lash-Chronicle MVP, is far from being a solo act. The Titans get sufficient scoring input from other sources such as Lee, Luke Downs, Tyson Payne, Schien Lindsay and Richard Conner.
Lindsay anchors the interior defense as a relentless rebounder and shot-blocking defender. Payne is a reliable ball handler who excels at getting the ball to teammates for high-percentage shots. Conner, a 5-feet-4 point guard, comes off the bench and provides high energy and baseline-to-baseline speed.
Williams understands that in spite of his team’s record, it’s no guarantee that the Titans will finish at the top of the final standings in the Central Piedmont 4-A Conference. West Forsyth still has remaining dates with North Davidson, Reagan, Reynolds and Mount Tabor (two games).
“Our team is not head and shoulders above everybody else,” said Williams. “The reason why we’ve done as well as we have is that we play with a chip on our shoulders. As long as we keep playing that way, we give ourselves the best chance to win against anybody we play.”