WILLOUGHBY—North used a 30-12 second-half run to collect a 50-33 rivalry win over host South on Wednesday.
The Rangers, who improved to 9-1 overall and extended their winning streak to eight straight, trailed at halftime, 21-20, before rallying to defeat the Rebels.
“This is a fun environment,” said North coach Paul Force about the inner-district rivalry. “We talk a lot about the fact that we have an inner-district rivalry and there aren’t a lot of those across the state anymore, so that’s something that we don’t take lightly and we embrace the opportunity to play them a couple of times each year.”
North’s Dori Siekaniec converted an and-one late in the first quarter to give the Rangers an early 11-8 lead.
South’s Emma Woolnough and Grace Woodcock both drained 3-pointers in the second quarter and the Rebels turned stingy on the defensive end and outscored North, 13-9, to take a lead into the locker room.
“They made some runs early and we made some runs,” Force said. “It was back-and-forth and we kind of knew the game would go that way. We talked about how we respond when things don’t go our way. I’m real proud of the leadership and mental toughness we showed.”
Cece Hamilton sparked the Rangers in the third quarter with a pair of 3-pointers and Kailey Minch and Mya Latham also hit from long range in the period as the Rangers began to pull away from the Rebels.
Minch, who scored a game-high 15 points against her former team, hit two 3s in the fourth to help North seal its win.
But, it was on the defensive end where the Rangers made the biggest difference.
“We defended at a higher level,” Force said of the second-half effort. “At halftime, we were close to where we wanted to be on the defensive end but we’ve got to be consistent. We really stepped it up in the second half.”
A Hamilton three followed by a defensive stop and a Minch three provided the Rangers with the momentum they needed to hold off the Rebels.
“I don’t track these, but it’s real important to get three-possession swings,” Force said. “It’s always good when you can get a score, and a stop, and then another score, and I bet we had two or three of those in the third quarter. They’re tough to guard, and credit to them, they’re doing some good things on offense and have some girls that can drive and shoot. They pose a lot of problems for opposing defenses.”
Hamilton contributed to the win with eight points and Sydney Helm and Latham both finished with seven. Siekaniec added five, Robbie Sevegen scored four, and Sidney Colby and Alyssa Gross both pitched in with two points.
Grace Woodcock led South with 13 points. Emma Woolnough finished with eight and Alyssa Tekavec scored five.
North will host South on Feb. 9 to close out the season series.
“We need to stay in the moment,” Force said. “Seasons go so fast and careers go so fast, you blink and you’re walking out there on Senior Night. This is our Super Bowl.”
North 11 9 16 14 – 50
South 8 13 8 4 – 33
North (9-1); Hamilton 10, Minch 15, Siekaniec 5, Sevegen 4, Stuart 0, Gross 2, Latham 7, Helm 5, Colby 2, Bucy 0, Namestnik 0, McPeek 0
South; Tekavec 5, Luketic 0, Matriano 2, Gialamas 3, Swanson 0, Woodcock 13, McCue 0, Farinacci 2, Woolnough 8
Field goals; North 20/52 (38%), South 13/50 (26%), Free throws; North 1/3 (33%), South 1/2 (50%); 3-pointers made; North 9 (Minch 5, Hamilton 2, Latham 1, Helm 1), South 4 (Woodcock 2, Tekavec 1, Woolnough 1); Rebounds; North 36 (Hamilton 8), South 25, Assists; North 16 (Hamilton 6), South 7