Wednesday, May 18

    North grinds out fourth straight win

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    Cece Hamilton’s double-double paved the way for the shorthanded North Rangers to extend their winning streak to four with a 33-26 nonconference win at Lake Catholic on Wednesday.

    The Rangers were down a couple of players but with Hamilton leading the way, the Rangers found their groove and pulled away from the Cougars in the second quarter.

    “We knew going into today that our rhythm might take a little while, so we just wanted to focus on the defensive end and make it difficult for them and give ourselves a chance to get the offense kind of going,” said North coach Paul Force. “They jumped out and hit some shots on us and took a lead on us, but I was real pleased with how we responded and came back and shot the ball a little bit.”

    Lake Catholic led after the first quarter, 9-6.

    The Rangers then went on a 12-5 run in the second to take an 18-14 lead into the break.

    “We shared the ball and we did a nice job of making things difficult for them,” Force said. “We weren’t able to pressure them as much as we wanted to with a little shorter rotation and some younger girls, but girls that typically don’t get a lot of minutes got in and made plays on the defensive end and they made some shots for us.”

    Hamilton led the charge with a game-high 16 points on three 3-pointers and she also pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.

    “I approached this game the same way I approach every game, like a Super Bowl,” Hamilton said. “My focus is always to win with whoever is on the floor and to play for each other. I feel confident in every game plan my coaches prepare for us and trust that we will execute every plan no matter who is on the court.”

    Despite the relative inexperience on the court, Hamilton and the rest of the Rangers followed the game plan and created offensive opportunities.

    “We were able to get good looks inside and outside due to our great spacing on offense,” Hamilton said. “It also helped knowing that if we missed a shot, one of our girls was crashing to get the board. As Coach Force says, rebounds win championships.”

    The Rangers out-rebounded the Cougars, 36-20.

    “Cece showed a lot of poise and leadership tonight coming up with a double-double,” Force said. “She was the best basketball player on the floor tonight and I don’t think it was even close, so hopefully, it’s a good experience and confidence-builder for her.”

    Sydney Helm contributed to the win with six points, Robbie Sevegen added five, and Sam Cantrell pitched in with three. Cami Welty and Sidney Colby both scored two points for the Rangers.

    Katie Bucy and Lily Namestnik also saw extended minutes.

    “I think there was a lot of excitement kind of building up through the day for some of those girls,” said Force about the younger players who stepped in and contributed to the win. “They’ve worked hard and they’ve been in the system since third or fourth grade, and I’ve seen those girls kind of grow up through camp and freshmen ball and JV ball, so it’s kind of cool to see some of those guys get out there.”

    Jordan Leigey led Lake Catholic with 13 points.

    North improved to 5-1 on the year. The Rangers play Bay at Garfield Heights on Sunday.


    Steve Hare
    The creator and publisher of, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for, a member of the network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. was created in 2004 and was a member of the network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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