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    North salvages split with Mayfield

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    EASTLAKE—North used a 42-39 win on Wednesday to salvage a season split with Western Reserve Conference rival Mayfield.

    The Rangers dropped a 54-40 decision to the Wildcats on their home court a week ago.

    Mayfield stole the momentum early thanks to Fatima Sardo-Longo draining a pair of first-quarter 3-pointers on the way to an 11-4 lead, but Ella Powalie’s 30-foot buzzer-beater gave the Rangers the spark they’d need to rally back for the win.

    “I’ve seen Ella hit that almost every day in practice,” said North head coach Paul Force of Powalie’s long-range three. “It brings a lot of enthusiasm and energy into the break; a lot more smiles and girls feeling good about themselves.”

    The Rangers maintained the energy gleaned from Powalie’s clutch shot throughout the next three quarters.

    A steal from Alex Hamilton was rewarded with a three at the other end. A few possessions later, North hit again from deep as Katie Bucy gave the Rangers a one-point 14-13 advantage.

    Defense continued to turn into offense and the three-ball remained hot for North as a Sam Cantrell steal led to another Powalie triple. Another steal from Cantrell kicked off a fastbreak capped off by a Powalie layup off a Bucy feed.

    “Mayfield poses a lot of problems for you defensively,” Force said of the defensive strategy. “They can drive, they can shoot. We tried to cover the three-point line and I think we did a good job keeping the pace where we wanted it to be.”

    Up 19-13, the start of the third quarter saw the Rangers maintain their halftime advantage thanks in large part to a seven-point quarter from Cantrell. An acrobatic pass from a falling Bucy set up a swing pass from Powalie to an open Cantrell for one of her two threes in the period.

    However, the latter portion of the third belonged to Mayfield’s Alexa Januszewski.

    Highlighted by a coast-to-coast and-one off of a defensive rebound, Januszewski closed the quarter with an individual 9-0 run to tighten the North lead to one.

    “We tried to pick up the intensity defensively and push the ball in transition,” said Mayfield head coach Cullen Harris of the second-half adjustment. “Lex, to her credit, will run through a brick wall if it stops her from getting to the hoop.”

    The final quarter started off with a three-point contest as Mayfield’s Nav Buttar and Hamilton exchanged makes from beyond the arc. Big boards from North’s Cami Welty proved crucial in a one-possession game and trips to the charity stripe, including a perfect trip from Bucy, helped to seal North’s win.

    “We didn’t have the best third quarter, but when you have good senior leadership and a senior point guard, things tend to flow a little smoother,” Force said. “They took care of the ball and made enough free throws down the stretch.”

    For Bucy–who had five points, five rebounds, and two assists–this game was a big one. Having spent the last three weeks on the sideline due to injury, the senior gutted it out to take her home court one final time.

    “We had five seniors playing their last game on this court and I know it meant something to them,” Force said. “Katie has been out a few weeks, and this was her first game back. She was excited to get out there and play hard and I’m super proud of her.”

    Hamilton led the Rangers with 11 points and Welty added 10. Powalie contributed to the win with nine points, and Cantrell finished with seven.

    Sardo-Longo posted a team-high 12 points for Mayfield and Januszewski also scored in double figures with 11. Jenna D’Angelo pitched in with six points, Buttar finished with five, Olivia Williams added three, and Gabby Moore scored two points.

     

     

     

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