After defeating Marist 50-34 on Monday, head coach Brad Kudlas said that North Forsyth's matchup against Cherokee would be a big test.
If that's the case, the Raiders deserve an A.
They led 11-2 after the first quarter and controlled the entire game on their way to a 61-44 victory in the Raider Classic championship game.
Kudlas was proud of the way his team played against one of the top teams in the state.
“The girls came together, played as a unit, played for each other,” Kudlas said. “If you looked at it, any time we needed a bucket, somebody provided the bucket. We didn’t really shoot that well from the outside, but we had those timely threes that kind of got us the lead early and then to sustain, because Cherokee’s never gonna give up on you. They kept throwing punches at us, and we took it and then we would respond. That was huge for our girls, and we had some people in foul trouble. Others came in and did their job.
"You had the freshman, London [Weaver], she hit a couple threes late. Meredith [Franklin] hit some big threes early on, and Haelim [Adle] in the first half was unstoppable. Anna Gliatta, she’s killing it and ended up getting sick the second half. It was Maddie fouling out, and we just kind of get people in there. I was just so impressed with how they came together and just playing for each other.”
Whalen, who won tournament MVP, finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the championship game. Adle added 12 points and nine rebounds for North.
As impressive as individuals were, Kudlas was more excited with how his team has bought into the system.
“They’re seeing that the style we want to play will work if we’re all invested,” Kudlas said. “In that first part of the season, we feel great. Coming in, taking care of business in our tournament. Playing an excellent team in Cherokee. But there’s a lot of room for improvement and a long way to go still. It’s early in the season. We still got so much to learn and improve on. We can’t just be complacent with what we did today. We’ve got to work for what we want to get in the future.”
The Raiders move to 5-0 with the victory, which is an excellent start to the season. The way they played against Cherokee bodes well for how far they’ll go this season. Still, Kudlas feels they’ve only scratched the surface.
“We’re getting comfortable with what people can do,” Kudlas said. “Really the girls are getting comfortable with each other. We’re starting to see what lineups go best together. Seeing how we’ll respond to pressure, because when you play against yourself, it’s one thing. But when you’ve got to play against these other teams and you can respond the way we did, I’m just really impressed with the way they played tonight.”
The boys couldn’t scrounge together some of that second-half magic from Monday night, as they fell to Dutchtown 69-57.
The Raiders trailed 28-14 during the second quarter, but were never truly out of striking distance. They trailed by 9 at halftime and cut the lead to only 4 at one point during the second half. Dutchtown’s depth and high intensity style of basketball proved to be enough to keep North from taking the lead after the first quarter.
Aidan Kudlas scored a game-high 20 points to go along with his 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Cole Kiroauc added 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Braden Mullis chipped in 11 points and 2 steals.
The Raiders fall to 2-3 on the season with the loss.