North Forsyth’s boys couldn’t weather Duluth’s defensive pressure in the second half.
A 10-point first half by Caleb Knost left North trailing by only one point at halftime, but the Raiders were held to only six points in the second half of their season opener, a 62-31 loss to the Wildcats in the opening round of the 2012 Roswell Infiniti Classic on Saturday at Raider Arena.
Duluth used its speed to double-team each North ballhandler from the start of the start of the second half, and the trap pressure repeatedly forced turnovers and prevented shots.
North hit only one shot from the field after halftime.
"I told them that was coming and it did," Raiders head coach Brian Moon said of the Wildcats’ increased pressure in the second half.
"If you can’t get the ball up the court against one-on-one pressure, it’s going to be tough. [Duluth has] great athletes; I scheduled them for that reason."
"We turn it over and there’s no defense for that because it [results in] a layup."
Knost’s 10 points were a team-high for the Raiders. He hit seven of eight free throw attempts in the first half and added a 3-pointer, but was held scoreless in the second half.
Ify Imachukwu led Duluth with 16 points, while Shamus Goss added 14.
North is looking for improvement this season following two especially seasons years in a row. The Raiders finished 3-20 in the 2010-11 season and 3-23 last season, Moon’s first as head coach.
Knost is one of three returning starters, along with fellow seniors Brandon Rapson and Wade Allen.
"This team is going to be OK, I really believe that," Moon said. "Number one is, [our kids] have got some character."
North was set to play in the second round of the Infiniti Classic on Tuesday before closing out the tournament tonight at Raider Arena.