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North girls win Raider Classic title
Lady Raiders overcome poor shooting, turnovers in 33-25 win over Creekview
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North Forsyth junior Caroline Bowns drives to the basket. Bowns had eight points and five blocks in the Lady Raiders' win against Creekview on Tuesday. - photo by Brian Paglia

These are the games North Forsyth girls basketball knows it must play right now, games where the Lady Raiders must endure 17 turnovers and five percent 3-point shooting and yet find a way to win.

For now, North has succeeded in that, just like it did in a 33-25 victory over Creekview on Tuesday in the championship game of the Raider Classic at Raider Arena.

Lochlain Corliss led North with 11 points, four assists and four steals. Avery Scarbrough, the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, finished with six points and 10 rebounds, while Caroline Bowns had eight points and five blocks.

"None of us could stand to see someone else celebrate on our court," Scarbrough said.

The Lady Raiders overcame a slow, turnover-plagued first quarter by applying defensive pressure on the Lady Grizzilies. After North got down 11-3 in the first quarter and 17-11 in the second, the Lady Raiders went on a 19-0 run through the second and third quarters to take control of the game.

Dee Blankinship led Creekview with 11 points, but only nine came in the first half, and North held the Lady Grizzilies’ best scorer to no points in the fourth quarter.

Creekview had scored 44 points by halftime of its previous game against Duluth. North made sure that didn’t happen again.

"I think defensively we played really well," North junior point guard Lochlain Corliss said. "We really shut [Creekview] down. A lot of shots didn’t fall, but for the most part we grinded it out."

That was the theme for North throughout the three-day Raider Classic. The Lady Raiders didn’t display the all-around efficiency that led them to the second round of the Class AAAAAA tournament last season, especially on the offensive end. North shot just 31 percent (13-for-42) against Creekview and was 1-for-21 from behind the three-point line.

But North made up for its offensive shortcomings with grit on defense. The Lady Raiders held Creekview to just 24 percent shooting (10-for-41). Only three players scored for the Lady Grizzlies.

"We can flat out guard people," North coach Eric Herrick said. "We held good a Sequoyah team to 21 points. Held a good Creekview team to 25. … We know we can guard."

For now, that will suffice for the Lady Raiders who don’t return to action until they begin Region 6-AAAAAA play Tuesday at Chattahoochee. That’s three days and a few practices Herrick said will be focused on shooting, shooting and shooting.

"We’re a decent shooting basketball team," Herrick said. "We’ve got to knock down shots."

Conventional wisdom suggests North won’t shoot 31 percent all season, nor that it will miss 14 straight 3-pointers to start a game like it did against Creekview.

"I think we’re coming together," Corliss said, "kind of like we did last year. It always takes a while to get in the groove of things, but once we do we’re a really good team."