EASTLAKE—North exploded for 33 points in the second quarter on the way to a 77-54 non-conference win over visiting Grand Valley on Wednesday.
Kyle Randle scored 11 of his game-high 21 and Jason Reik added eight of his 12 in the frame.
“It was a great game for us,” said North coach Matt Vespa. “Grand Valley reached out a couple of times and really wanted to play. Playing a lower division team right before the tournament doesn’t necessarily do anything for us but I thought it was a good opportunity and I thought our guys responded well.”
North led just 13-12 after the first quarter but the Rangers cranked up the defensive pressure and that led to more offensive opportunities.
Randle and Reik both drained two 3-pointers in the second quarter as the Rangers outscored the Mustangs, 33-10, to push their lead to 46-22 at the break.
“Defensively, we were really getting after it,” Vespa said. “I thought athletically we were a little bit bigger and faster and we saw playing teams like Mayfield and Brush how it affects us so we wanted to use those things to our advantage and I think we did. We were long, we got out and turned defense into offense and that kind of opened everything up.”
Ryan Baer also had a big second quarter as he scored seven of his nine in the frame. His 3-pointer provided an extra spark for the Rangers.
After snapping a 31-game losing streak on Saturday, the Rangers now have won two of their last three games and are learning what it takes to get a lead and to hold on to it.
“Everything that we do is a new experience for these guys,” Vespa said. “To jump out to a lead and then give it up isn’t something they’ve done before. To re-establish that lead and go into halftime with a significant lead isn’t something they’ve done; they haven’t experienced that. Everything is a lesson and a learning opportunity, good, bad, indifferent, it doesn’t matter, but we’ll take it and hopefully get a few more of them.”
Sean Register also scored in double figures for the Rangers as he contributed with 14 points.
Ashton Zupancic led Grand Valley with 16 points. He recorded the 1,000th point of his career early in the second quarter.
North hosts Kenston on Friday.