Raiders Rising in Region

The Raiders returned home this weekend as Walton hosted region opponent Roswell and Kennesaw Mountain in a non-region contest. In two incredible games, the Raider girls split their contests this weekend.

Against the Roswell Hornets, the girls fought hard to keep the game close, making up for some early turnovers. Ultimately, it was a 3-point shot by Tomisin Adenupe with 2.8 seconds left that put the Raiders on top.

Adenupe scored 21 points, making that five games over 20. Senior Neusha Green averaged double-digit rebounds in both games this weekend. After her season ended abruptly last year due to injury, Green has started the year strong, leading the team in both rebounding and blocks. The rotation of players at the wings has been an asset for the Raiders so far, creating shots on offense and playing tight man-to-man defense. In a hard-fought physical game, the tables turned on Saturday as the Raiders lost 44-45. 

 

Two wins this weekend bring the boys’ record to 9-2. On Friday, the Raiders beat the Hornets 69-61. The Hornets have given the Raiders trouble in the past, eliminating them from the region tournament two years ago and sweeping the season series last year. However, the Raiders were able to defeat the Hornets with team chemistry and balanced scoring. While Roswell relied heavily on two players, the Raiders were able to get three players into double figures and hit 10 three pointers as a team. Sophomore Dylan Pumpian torched the Hornets for five three pointers, swinging the momentum multiple times in favor of the Raiders. Made free throws iced the game for the Raiders in the fourth quarter. On Saturday, the Raiders defeated Kennesaw Mountain 58-49, led by Luka Avaliani’s 22 points.

In region play, the girls stand at 2-0, just behind the region leader Cherokee with a 3-0 record. With a loss to Etowah, the boys are at 1-1 in region play and also look to take Cherokee out of the region lead when they all meet on Friday, January 3 at Cherokee.

When the Raiders finish up exams on Friday, they will hit the road to take on South Forsyth. Both boys and girls will wrap up 2019 with a holiday tournament before taking on Cherokee. The Raiders next home game will be on Saturday, January 4 against Blessed Trinity. Start the New Year by showing up for your Raiders. 

On The Road

Just as the rest of Raider Nation got back to work this week after the Thanksgiving holiday, our Raiders continued preparing for their first region games this Tuesday. Both the girls and boys were on the road this past week, bringing the boys’ record to 7-1 and the girls to 2-6.
 

The Raider girls continued to improve their play against their opponents this week, defeating Kennesaw Mountain 49-32 and losing a close game to North Paulding 50-54. A key indicator for their play so far is their point differential of -4.3 points per game. Despite the losses, they have been within reach in nearly all of their games, fighting until the last whistle. Junior Tomisin Adenupe continues her great start to the year, averaging 21 points in the week’s two games. Adenupe’s average in second-half play is hard 12 points, which happens to be the girls’ lowest scoring quarter. This played a big role in their most recent win over Kennesaw Mountain; Adenupe scored 14 points in the second half, including 11 free throws to stunt a Kennesaw Mountain comeback.Junior Jacki Hecklinski contributed this week with hustle plays and timely shots. Hecklinski scored 7 points within the first few minutes of the Kennesaw Mountain game, giving the Raiders an early lead to propel them to victory. Hecklinski has also been active on the defensive side of the ball as of late, averaging 1.3 steals over her last three games. Very impressive about the Lady Raiders this year has been their willingness to share the basketball. A little over half of their total points have come from assists, resulting mainly from the rotation of the ball around the perimeter in an attempt to find an open shooter. Their hustle and teamwork will begin to add on to the wins for the Raider girls. 

 

The boys are off to their best start since the 2013 season, when the Raiders opened the year 13-0. The hot start junior Luka Avaliani has much to do with this opening success. Avaliani is averaging just under 20 points per game this year, with most of his baskets coming when the team needs them most. Luka averages 11.2 points in the second half of games this year, including 6.6 in the fourth quarter and overtime. Against Hillgrove on Saturday, Avaliani was able to go from one end of the court to the other and make a layup at the buzzer which sent the Raiders to overtime, where they won 43-40. Senior David Sickles has also played well this year, leading the team in three pointers made. David was able to torch the Kennesaw Mountain Mustangs, scoring 9 points in the fourth quarter and icing the game at the foul line. The final score against the Mustangs was 59-55. David has come out of the gate this season with intensity in his senior season. Sickles explains, “Everyone is looking at me now and expects me to be a key player on the team.” Junior Carson Adler leads the Raiders in three-point percentage. Adler has proven that he is not only a shooter, however, and has been pushing the tempo on fast breaks this season. Adler is now averaging 8.3 points per game. 
 
The Raiders stay on the road Tuesday as they take on Etowah. On Friday and Saturday, the Raiders will be back in the Pit so be there to show your support!