CHAGRIN FALLS–North made several plays on both ends of the floor in the second half to clinch the Western Reserve Conference title with a 42-35 win over host Kenston on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, the Rangers improved to 18-2 overall and 10-1 in league play with one conference game remaining. Kenston dropped to 16-5, 9-3.
“It feels great,” said North junior Kailey Minch, who led the Rangers with 21 points. “Every game we play in the conference we treat it like our Super Bowl. Every game is important, and everyone in the conference can beat each other.”
The Bombers opened up the game with aggression and closed out the opening quarter with a 15-6 lead.
North responded in the second firing on all cylinders as they went on a blazing 10-0 run. The Rangers kept up the pressure to lead 24-17 heading into halftime.
“Mya Latham came off the bench and had some key shots during that run,” said North coach Paul Force. “We kept them out of transition and got some rebounds, which allowed us to get in transition. I think picking up the pace of the game and controlling defensive boards were key in that second quarter.”
The Rangers outscored Kenston 9-4 in the third quarter and led 33-21 as the game approached the final eight minutes.
Kenston pulled to within eight but it wasn’t enough as the Rangers held off the Bombers the rest of the way.
“They came out and jumped on us,” Force said. “We knew they’d be sky-high with the way the game ended the last time we played. We just preached staying calm and being where your feet are and focusing on the next play.”
Minch posted the game-high 21 points but the Rangers had several other contributors including Sydney Helm, who scored six points, and Robbie Sevegen, Mya Latham, and Cece Hamilton, who all pitched in with four points. Dori Siekaniec added three.
Sevegen led the Rangers with 10 rebounds while Minch drained four 3-pointers.
“Honestly, I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” Minch said. “Moving the ball around, passing and kicking out, I knew they had my backs and I had theirs.”
Catara DeJarnette finished with 19 points for Kenston. Hannah Busby contributed nine and Sam Bergansky added five.
North closes out the regular season with a home game against rival South on Wednesday.