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!