COAL MOUNTAIN — North Forsyth head coach Brian Moon leaned forward in his chair after the first quarter and asked Flowery Branch coach David Sokol if the Falcons were ever going to miss a shot.
Sokol laughed and yelled back that he had told his team not to.
Joking or not, Sokol’s team couldn’t miss. Flowery Branch guard Taylor Bourdage poured in eight of his team’s 15 3-pointers and 30 points overall as the Falcons took down host North Forsyth, 66-59, on Monday afternoon at the Raider Classic.
“He can shoot the heck out of the ball,” Sokol said. “He came out in the third quarter and hit a few shots that really got us going.”
Flowery Branch trailed 30-23 at halftime after a seven-point second quarter and a 9-0 North run to close the half. It only took four minutes of the third quarter for Bourdage and senior Tyler Kriews to erase the Raiders’ lead.
Bourdage hit three 3-pointers over that stretch and Kriews added seven points, and the Falcons got the defensive stops Sokol was looking for. Flowery Branch outscored North 22-12 in the third quarter and held the Raiders to 1-of-6 shooting from deep.
North Forsyth’s Dakota Holtzclaw, a 6-foot-5 wing with several Division-I offers, scored 17 points, and guard Chad Bureau finished with 20 for the Raiders. Sokol, a former North Forsyth assistant coach, said the two teams had played each other twice this summer and the Falcons were well-aware of what Holtzclaw could do.
“He’s going to get his points,” Sokol said. “Our kids did a good job of denying him the ball as much as they could, and tried to make him make difficult plays.”
Flowery Branch returned only three players this season with varsity experience in Bourdage, Kriews and Hunter Konuszewski. Junior forward Trey Bailey asserted himself on the glass and as a defensive presence on the interior and junior guard Chris Garcia took good care of the ball, Sokol said.
The Falcons outscored North Forsyth, a team that won one game last season, 43-29 over the final 16 minutes.
“We didn’t guard very well, and I don’t know that right now our players want to guard well,” Moon said. “We gave up 15 3s. That would’ve beaten a lot of teams today. You’d like to think you can win some games when you don’t shoot it very well, but today that didn’t happen.”