Happy New Year Raiders! While the semester begins for the rest of Raider Nation today, your Raider basketball teams have already been hard at work in 2020. After playing Cherokee and Blessed Trinity last Friday and Saturday, both the girls and the boys sit 3rd in region standings. This week, the Raiders will meet Lassiter and Woodstock which could change that. The teams had a good preparation in this past weekend’s matches.
The Raider girls lost to Cherokee Friday night. Despite the final score, the Raiders fought hard and played tough against the number eight team in Georgia. The Raiders were able to limit the Cherokee offense in the first half by full court pressing, applying pressure onto ball handlers and playing help defense on open shooters. Junior Emily Lee had the most success with this press, stealing the ball from the Warriors multiple times and then finding her teammates open for easy baskets. Freshman Lexi Harris put together a solid game for the Raiders, grabbing multiple offensive rebounds in the game and putting them back up for easy layups. Against Blessed Trinity, the girls were able to come away with a comeback win, 62-57. Down two points at halftime, the girls came out with intensity and desire in the second half. Coach Kelterborn made the switch to the full court press again, and the girls immediately opened the quarter on a 7-0 run. Senior Neusha Green was key to the victory, making shots out of the low post and securing multiple offensive rebounds that clinched the victory for the Raiders. For a stretch, the Raiders were even feeding her the ball at the foul line and allowing her to make passes to open shooters. As the game wound down, the girls impressed as a team, making unselfish passes to break the press and draining the clock down to the final buzzer. This week’s upcoming games against could potentially see them rising as high as number 1 in region standings.
The Raider boys also lost to region leader Cherokee Friday night. Despite a slow start out of the gate which saw them down 16-3, the boys fought hard. Junior shooting guard Hunter Bloom, a new face on the court, hit a three pointer just minutes after coming in the game, making the defense respect him from the outside. The Raider defense in the paint was strong. Despite multiple Warriors being taller than the Raiders, they were able to keep them out of the paint and force them to take shots from the outside. On Saturday, the boys took on Blessed Trinity. Though the final score was 44-55, the boys started the 4th quarter with the intensity and passion they need for this week’s upcoming games. Down 29-42 at the start of the 4th quarter, the Raiders began to press the Blessed Trinity ball handlers, forcing them into some ill-advised passes which swung the momentum in our favor. Junior Alex Packman played very well in the second half, diving on multiple loose balls and battling down low with Titan defenders. Alex also drew a foul and made both free throws late in the game to cut the Titan lead to eight points. Junior guard Landon Hong saw success with the press, using use his speed to deflect passes and cover multiple Titans which disrupted their offensive flow.
While this may have been a tough weekend for the Raiders, they were able to face quality competition and gain experience that will help them this season. Both teams hope to rise in region standings this week, beginning Tuesday at Lassiter. Friday is Winterfest at Walton, and Woodstock will travel to meet your Raiders at home. Make sure to be a part of this week’s excitement by coming out to support your Raiders!