North Forsyth boys basketball got in sync early with a 17-0 run and never looked back, defeating Apalachee 67-30 Tuesday at home.
“The biggest thing is we try to come out with some intensity and effort," Raiders head coach David Sokol said on the defense. "We got to play hard and aggressively. We were fortunate to get some steals, deflections and convert on the other end.”
The Raiders took no time to get the first points of the game. Shortly after winning the tip-off, Braden Mullis sliced through the defense to get to the rim.
The Raiders began to full-court press the Wildcats, and it surely worked. Mullis made a play on the ball that earned him a steal. Kal-El Delgadillo found Cole Kirouac in the paint, and the junior hammered a dunk home.
The Raiders were taking risks by jumping in the passing lane and forcing more turnovers. Good ball movement led to Kirouac getting an assist from Brayden Turner.
Apalachee immediately called a timeout to discuss its offensive struggles, as the Wildcats fell into a 9-0 hole early on.
Delgadillo continued the run by scoring back-to-back buckets. Then shortly after another Wildcat turnover, Delgadillo again sprinted the other way. This time he got fouled going to the rim, sending him to the free throw line.
The Wildcats had an opportunity for their first basket of the game, but Howard Holloway got too carried away, missing a dunk that went in and out. Kirouac showed him how it was done by dunking in transition.
Apalachee finally got in a groove when Alex Savage’s baseline drive gave the Wildcats their first score, then a few baskets cut the deficit to 19-7.
The Raiders were putting on a show in front of their home crowd. Coach Sokol drew up a play that led to Turner throwing an alley-oop to Kirouac.
Kirouac didn’t shy away from dunking with contact, and he got the ball in the paint to posterize Holloway, getting the home team bench on their feet.
Apalachee finally ended the run with a 3-pointer, but due to the Wildcats not boxing out on the Raiders' next possession, Temidayo Akinrinmade tipped the ball into the basket.
It was evident that the Raiders wanted to give Kirouac the ball. Off the inbounds, he received a pass and immediately dunked over another Wildcat again.
The Raiders outscored the Wildcats 23-9 in the second quarter. Kirouac went into the locker room having scored 14 points in the first half and Mullis having scored eight points.
In the second half, Kirouac resumed his paint presence by getting a block and then finishing the play with a tip-in layup to bump the lead to 44-16.
“There’s still room for improvement, but overall, it was a pretty good performance and a good team win,” Kirouac said of his showing.
Mullis kept the offense afloat. His best play came when he got the steal and showed off his vertical with a one-hand dunk in transition.
An assist was given to Akinrinmade from Turner’s triple. Akinrinmade called for the ball in the post and immediately got double-teamed, and that's when he found Turner at the corner by himself.
As the Raiders grew their lead to 58-22, on the next dead ball North Forsyth emptied its bench.
Kirouac led the team in points with 16. Mullis was right behind with 14 and Delgadillo added 11.
North Forsyth (10-8, 4-2 Region 8-6A) will get back on the court against Greater Atlanta Christian Jan. 21 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.