The Sullivan North freshman didn’t know he’d be starting at point guard against Elizabethton until 10 minutes before game time Tuesday night. White ended up playing a vital role in a 79-66 victory over the Cyclones, which marked the Golden Raiders’ fourth straight win.
“He’s played every JV game. He’s played every varsity game,” said North post Eric Herring. “It’s like he’s already a sophomore; he’s played 40 games this year.”
Moore hit one of the biggest shots in the contest. North led by double digits for most of the third quarter, but the Cyclones started the fourth on a 13-3 run to make it a 54-51 ballgame. The Raiders weathered the storm, and a deep 3-pointer by Moore pushed North back to a 63-56 cushion.
Elizabethton never made another run at the lead.
Herring, the Raiders’ frontcourt standout, had a double-double by halftime and finished with 26 points and 17 rebounds. His effort included five and-one buckets, four of which came on putbacks.
“They put it to us inside all night long on both ends,” Elizabethton coach Marty Street said. “They dominated the boards and they dominated the paint on offense. That, to me, that was the difference in the ballgame tonight.”
Herring had the big night, but someone had to get him the ball. Mark Salyers is North’s usual point guard, but the junior had to sit out because of illness.
“We were going to play that game for Mark,” Herring said. “He had a 101-degree fever and he just wanted to go out and play and the trainer wouldn’t let him.”
White said he struggled handling the ball in the prior meeting with Elizabethton. He didn’t have long to stew over that after learning he would start.
“I knew this was a big game for us because it would help us move up in our conference,” said White, who finished with 18 points.
Another freshman, Ryan Jessee, contributed 11 points for the Raiders. Hunter Hart and Hunter McReynolds added 10 apiece.
The win moved North (10-15, 6-7) within one game of .500 in the Watauga Conference, and the Raiders appear to be peaking as the District 1-AA tournament looms.
Spencer Bradley paced the Cyclones (13-12, 6-6) with 17 points. Ryan Thomas chipped in 14, Kyle Wash 12 and Zach Montgomery 10.
The Lady Raiders were no match for Elizabethton in the varsity girls matchup. The Lady Cyclones scored a dominant 64-19 victory, starting 7-for-10 from the floor and taking a 25-1 lead.
Mariah Pietrowski and Jasmine Jefferson scored 18 and 10 points, respectively, for Elizabethton (20-5, 9-3).
Stephanie Crook’s seven points led North (3-22, 0-13).