A 12-0 run split over the end of the first half and beginning of the second proved to be too much for North Forsyth to overcome against Mt. Bethel in the Raider Classic boys championship Tuesday at home.
Despite a disjointed offensive performance, North Forsyth looked set to enter halftime in good shape. However, the Eagles scored the final six points of the second quarter for a 32-20 advantage.
Following a 6-0 spurt to open the third period, Mt. Bethel built an 18-point lead en route to a 65-50 victory.
“I thought the effort was there,” North Forsyth head coach David Sokol said. “I thought Cole [Kirouac] played extremely well inside for us defensively. Offensively, it came down to too many turnovers. The decision-making wasn’t very good. We let them dictate how we run our offense. We can’t allow that to happen. If we’re going to be able to compete for a championship, we’re going to have to handle the pressure a little bit better.”
The teams played out a fairly even opening quarter, with the Eagles holding a slim 12-9 edge.
After being outscored 30-16 over the ensuing 14 minutes, the Raiders snatched the momentum briefly late in the third quarter, when Brayden Turner and Braden Mullis hit back-to-back 3-pointers within a five-second span.
Mt. Bethel, though, recovered to take a 47-33 lead into the fourth. North Forsyth scored the first five points of the final stanza but could never get closer than nine points.
Kirouac and Turner paced the Raiders with 11 points each. Mullis wound up with 10 points, and Kal-El Delgadillo contributed eight.
Meanwhile, the Eagles saw four players score 11-plus points.
“They’ve got a lot of guys who can score,” Sokol said of the third-ranked team in Class A D-I. “They’ve got a lot of pieces to the puzzle. We can’t give them more opportunities by turning the ball over. You do that against a good team, and you’re going to put yourself into a hole.
“We’ll learn from it. It’s early in the season. We’ve got a good group of guys who will compete and get better.”
North Forsyth boys 57, Heritage School 47
By Derrick Richemond
Monday night, North Forsyth boys defeated Heritage, 57-47, in the Raider Classic's second round.
Center Cole Kirouac displayed how well he can defend the paint. After getting a block on Demetrius Gibson, he encouraged the defense to play more aggressively. On the Hawks’ next possession, point guard Kal-El Delgadillo successfully picked Max Skidmore’s pocket and finished the fast break with a layup.
Delgadillo later went 1-for-2 from the free throw line to give North a little breathing room.
With 5:17 left in the first half, guard Kevin Savage uses a screen, and Kirouac fails to step up. That’s when Savage knocks down the shot to regain the lead at 11-10.
The Raiders showed signs of how well they can shoot.
Kirouac got an assist from Brayden Turner's triple to tie the game. Then after making a great defensive stop with 20 seconds left, Turner knocked down another 3 to send the Raiders into halftime on a good note.
Delgadillo again put pressure on who was guarding him. It led to the highlight of the night from Kirouac, who catches the ball in stride and dunks it for an and-1.
The Raiders played their best basketball in the third quarter, with Braden Mullis, Delgadillo and Kirouac scoring six points each to further the separation.
With one second separating the game and shot clocks, Delgadillo caught a pass and used his strength to take it in the hole to lay the ball in as the buzzer sounded.
“In the second half, our guard played a good job. We made some shots so that's always fun to see,” Raiders head coach David Sokol said.
In the fourth, Turner added two more 3s. Skidmore did too, but the Raiders defense stood tall to not allow the game to slip away.
Turner’s 14 points were the team high. Delgadillo followed right behind with 13, then Mullis with 10.