North jumped out to an early 11-2 lead but visiting Massillon Perry rallied back in the second quarter and went on to beat the Rangers in a Division I sectional final on Thursday, 44-37.
The Rangers closed out their season 15-8 overall.
“We came out of the locker room pretty jacked up and pretty focused,” said North coach Paul Force. “We knew they would make some runs. They’re a good team, they’re physical, they play hard on the defensive end, and they run the floor on the offensive end. I think as the game wore on, they were able to get after us on the boards a little bit. We pride ourselves on rebounding hard and I think they outrebounded us by six or eight tonight, and that was critical in taking away possessions from us on the offensive end and getting themselves extra possessions on the defensive end.”
Perry pulled down 35 rebounds compared to just 28 for North.
The Rangers hit the court in stride with Mya Latham and Sydney Helm hitting 3-pointers and Kailey Minch drained a jumper for an 8-0 lead.
Perry snapped that run with a layup, but Minch came right back with a three to push the score to 11-2.
North missed their next 19 3-pointers to finish the game 3-for-23 from behind the arc. North shot just 13 percent from 3-point land and 28 percent from the floor.
“We got some good looks,” Force said. “A lot of our offense is predicated on the perimeter, moving the ball and knocking down threes. We had some looks, but we didn’t shoot great tonight. Basketball is a game of shooting it. They shot well in the first half and we had to kind of play catch-up in the second half. It seems like when we make a shot at home, it’s worth five or six points and we just couldn’t get enough of those streaks scoring on consecutive possessions to get back into it.”
Minch led the Rangers with 18 points and two steals. Latham and Cami Welty each scored five points, Kaitlin Dobida added four, Helm finished with three, and Lily Namestnik scored two points.
Welty pulled down a team-high eight rebounds and tied Dobida for the team high with two blocked shots.
The loss ended the Rangers’ season and the high school careers of North’s seniors—Minch, Helm, Latham, and Sidney Colby.
Minch, who will continue her playing career at Ursuline College, closed out her high school career with 1,237 points.
“She’s a special player,” Force said of Minch. “For her to do everything she’s done, especially this year, seeing face guards and double-teams, and every coach and every team definitely works their defensive game plan around her, so for her to be able to keep her head and play as many minutes and perform as well as she did, we’re super proud of her. We’re going to miss her, but we’re excited to see what she can grow into at the next level.”