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Basketball: North Forsyth teams pull away from Forsyth Central
North Forsyth's Brogen Casey tries to keep the ball away from Forsyth Central's Kain Kim during a non-region matchup Tuesday at home. (Photo by Robin Patterson)

The Forsyth Central boys basketball team couldn’t have asked for a better start to Tuesday night’s season-opener on the road at rival North Forsyth.

The Bulldogs led 9-0 early on and didn’t trail at any point until late in the second quarter, but once the Raiders caught fire in the third quarter, they never looked back and cruised to a 65-47 win to open the season.

Braden Mullis led the way with 14 points while Brogen Casey (13 points ) and Cole Kirouac (12 points) each chipped in with big games for the Raiders (1-0).

North head coach David Sokol gave Central (0-1) a lot of credit for giving his team a big test in the first half and was proud of the way his team responded, especially in the second half.

“I thought Forsyth Central came to play,” Sokol said. “They played extremely hard. They got loose balls, they got offensive rebounds, and they hit a lot of 3s. I think we weathered it pretty well, played well towards the end of the first half and then came out ready to go in the second half.”

North’s first lead didn’t come until the 3:19 mark of the second quarter when Casey drilled a corner 3-pointer off an assist from Kirouac. That gave the Raiders a 21-20 lead and they went on to take a 29-25 lead into the break.

Both teams shot nearly identically from the field in the first half. The Raiders were 10 of 26 from the field with four made 3-pointers, while the Bulldogs were 10 of 27 from the field with five made 3-pointers.

Lucas Hertzler had a good first half for the Bulldogs and connected on three of their 3-pointers. Casey matched him shot for shot in the first half and knocked down three long balls of his own to lead all scorers with 11 points.

The game was ultimately won and lost in the third quarter.

Central opened up the scoring with a 3-pointer by Sam Noble, but by the midway point in the quarter, the Raiders led 40-30. As a team, the Raiders shot 9 of 14 from the field in the third quarter (64 percent) and held the Bulldogs to just two field goals.

“We had 11 straight stops (in the third quarter), so that’s huge,” Sokol said. “As long as you’re playing defense and getting stops, hopefully, you can make some shots on the other end. I thought it was the intensity in the second half. We had guys that wanted to win the game.”

Will Sokol had a big third quarter with seven points. Mullis chipped in with six in the quarter, including an emphatic dunk in transition that gave the Raiders a commanding 44-30 lead with under three minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The Raiders lead ballooned to 20 points early in the fourth and the Bulldogs were never able to recover after their sluggish third quarter.

Noble and Aidan Nutty each scored 11 points to lead the way for the Bulldogs. Hertzler finished his night with nine points, all of which came in the first half on his three made 3-pointers.

Girls: North Forsyth 61, Forsyth Central 24

The North Forsyth girls basketball team bucked a slow start and went on to dominate cross-town rival Forsyth Central 61-24 on the opening night of the regular season.

The Raiders (1-0) led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter, then scored on their first 15 possessions in the second quarter to take a commanding 34-point lead into halftime.

Senior Erin Whalen led the way with 16 points while sophomore London Weaver had 14 and freshman Gabbie Gliatta had 11 in her varsity debut.

“One of the good things with this team is once the ball falls once, then every one catches that itch to knock one down,” North head coach Brad Kudlas said. “The first quarter, we’ve just got to work through those dry spells and try not to have those.”

North Forsyth's Erin Whalen goes up for a shot under pressure from a Forsyth Central defender during a non-region matchup Tuesday at home. (Photo by Robin Patterson)
The Raiders struggled to get into a rhythm offensively in the first quarter. Despite their struggles, they made up for it on the defensive end, holding the Bulldogs (0-1) to just seven points.

In the second quarter, a Whalen putback layup on their first possession opened up the floodgates and they never looked back.

Whalen’s seventh point of the quarter gave the Raiders a 26-7 lead and Lindsey Pirkle later gave them a 35-7 lead to cap off a 21-0 run to start the second quarter.

The Bulldogs finally ended the run with a jumper from Emma Barnes, but that didn’t have any effect on the Raiders, who continued to knock down shots on the offensive end. An Addison Peck 3-pointer gave the hosts a 50-13 lead and they eventually took a 50-16 lead into halftime.

“The girls have been itching to play against somebody other than themselves,” Kudlas said. “There’s still a lot of things that we need to work on and they see that. But we’re excited to get it going. Games are always more fun than practice.”

Avery Burks was the leading scorer for the Bulldogs with six points, while Lily Deluca chipped in with five points.