KINGSPORT — Sullivan North’s girls basketball team isn’t exactly on a winning streak yet. But they’re working on it.
The Lady Golden Raiders won their second straight with a 42-39 victory over visiting Tri-Cities Christian on Tuesday night.
North coach Donnie Stafford, who came out of retirement last season to retake the reins of the program, is hoping to rekindle the old competitive fires.
“I went back and checked the records. We haven’t won three in a row since before I left in 1998. It’s been 11 years,” said coach Donnie Stafford.
“Tonight I told them that was one of the things we’re going to shoot for. To get three in a row.”
The Lady Golden Raiders (4-2) travel to Lee High tonight. The Lady Generals are coming off a VHSL Group A Final Four appearance. They’ll be a serious challenge, Stafford said.
Tri-Cities Christian posed some challenges of their own Tuesday night. The Lady Eagles’ significant height advantage helped keep the game close, despite poor shooting from the field.
“I’m pleased with the defense,” said Tri-Cities coach Brandon Stamper. “It’s the offense where we missed a lot of opportunities”
The Lady Eagles (2-4) missed a lot of those opportunities on the free throw line, shooting 15-for-38 at the charity stripe.
Junior post Beka Leuzinger led Tri-Cities, scoring 16 points. Sophomore guard Carol Hensley added 11 points. Freshman guard Ashley Hofer had six.
“I feel like a lot of times we’re getting the shot we want, we’re just not making it,” Stamper said. “I’m just hoping as the year goes on experience will lead to that. And just getting in the gym and shooting more.”
Sophomore guard Kaysey Williams scored 13 points to pace North while junior Stephanie Lee added eight. Diminutive guard Cydney Hood — who won a critical jump ball on the defensive end in the late seconds of the game — finished with nine points. This included a pair of free throws with 14.9 seconds showing that sealed the victory.
North had the quicker lineup but shot poorly from the field early on. In the first half, Williams and Stephanie Crook combined to go 3-for-23 from the floor.
“When your two leading scorers are 3-for-23, you know you’re in for a long night,” said Stafford, “but in the second half Kaysey came through and the Hood girl did a good job late in the game.”
In the boys game, William White fired up 23 points and handed out four assists as North rolled to a 72-40 win.
Mark Salyers had 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Raiders (2-3), while Chase Arnold had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Dustin Shelton collected 10 points and six boards.
“We shot the ball well tonight and that was a really good thing to see,” said North coach Mitch Cox. “We didn’t play halfcourt defense as well as we’d like to, but we know that. We’re just young and trying to instill some defensive discipline in these guys.”
Michael Freeman scored 13 points to pace Tri-Cities (4-1), while Benji Nunn added 11.
“I felt like we got outhustled and out-played on every level tonight,” said Eagles coach Jeremy Yates. “I feel like our guys are better than that.”