PERRY—It’s never easy to beat a quality team three times in a season but Brush found out on Friday it’s just as difficult to beat the North Rangers.
North, who was 2-0 against Brush this season, used a third-quarter run to pull away from the Arcs in a 73-54 in a Division I district championship game.
“It’s awesome,” North coach Paul Force said of winning back-to-back district titles. “We knew they were going to come out with everything they had. They’ve been on a tear lately, since they played us the last time. Coach (DeMarris) Winters and his staff have done a great job to get that program back to this level. He and I talked two years ago about playing in a district final. We kind of joked before the game, ‘here we are.’ As athletic as they are and as big and as hard as they play, I’m extremely proud of our girls.”
Destiny Leo drained a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter but it wasn’t enough to pull away from the Arcs.
North led after the first quarter, 20-19.
The Rangers extended their lead at the break to 38-29.
Abby Carter, who led all scorers with 25 points, and Leo blew it open in the third quarter. Hailey Wilson, Cece Hamilton, Avril Drew and Olivia Oostdyk also hit key shots or pulled battled for rebounds during North’s 20-6 run that sealed the game.
“Destiny got going and Abby got going,” Force said of the third-quarter success. “Even though those two put up big numbers, there were huge shots and buckets by other people. Hailey, Cece, Avril, it’s hard to say that we’re just a two-man team. Basketball is five on five and when you get to this level you’ve got to have five girls on the floor who can play and if you don’t it’s going to get exposed.”
Leo finished with 22 points and Drew also scored in double figures with 12. Hamilton added eight in the win.
Carter and Drew pulled down eight and seven rebounds, respectively, and Drew posted a team-high five assists.
The Rangers, who improved to 22-3 overall, advanced to play Magnificat in the Canton Regional semifinals on Tuesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. at the Memorial Civic Center.
North 73, Brush 54
Brush 19 11 6 18 – 54
North 20 18 20 15 – 73
Brush (17-8); Nicholson 4, White 9, D Johnson 16, M Johnson 0, James 0, Henderson 6, Hull 2, Thomas 15, Frazier 2
North (22-3); Hamilton 8, Carter 25, Vajusi 0, Leo 22, Drew 12, H Wilson 4, Oostdyk 2
Field goals: Brush 22/59 (37%), North 24/56 (42%): Free throws: Brus 8/10 (80%), North 16/16 (100%); 3-pointers: Brush 2 (D Johnson 2) , North 9 (Carter 5, Leo 2, Hamilton 2); Rebounds: Brush 29, North 28 (Carter 8); Assists: Brush 8, North 15 (Drew 5)