North led 36-27 at the half and then completely took the Eagles out of rhythm with a suffocating man-to-man defense.
Evan Bishop led a balanced North attack with 15 points. Tyler Depriest netted 12 and Trey Williams scored 10.
“The boys really settled in on the man-to-man and stopped trying to do so much and instead focused on one thing,” North coach Travis Cain said. “We tried to key on (Drew) Correll. He had 13 in the first half and then he didn’t score in the second half. We put Dale (Potter) on him and he’s our best defensive player.”
The Raiders came out of the locker room in the first four minutes of the third quarter and put away the game early with an 8-0 run, forcing four Eagles turnovers in the process. The lead started to balloon and Tri-Cities could never get the offense going like it had in the first half.
The Raiders have been banged up most of the season, but Cain says they are finally getting healthy coming down the homestretch.
“This is the healthiest we’ve been all year,” Cain said. “We’ve got Lovelace back and everybody is healthy. We’ve got as full of a team as we can have.”
Correll — despite not scoring in the second half — led Tri-Cities with 13 points. Adam Pigeon added 10.
The Raiders (5-15) hope to carry their momentum into Friday’s Watauga Valley Conference showdown at home against Cloudland.
DID YOU SAY DEFENSE?
Much like the boys, the Lady Raiders’ defense was stout after settling in for a half of their 39-24 victory.
North did trail 11-6 at the end of one quarter and 18-15 at halftime, but turned up its defense in the second half.
The Lady Raiders (7-8) seized a 20-18 lead at the 6:01 mark of the third quarter and never looked back, allowing only six points the rest of the game. North allowed just 13 total points after the end of the first quarter.
Lensey Tanner’s 10 points were tops for the Lady Raiders. No one hit double digits for TCC, but Jayden Riddle scored nine.