EASTLAKE—In baseball, a perfect game is recorded when a pitcher doesn’t allow a single baserunner in any inning.
Perfection in basketball is much more difficult to achieve but the North Rangers came pretty close in Saturday’s 71-31 win over visiting Ravenna.
“We played pretty clean,” said North coach Paul Force. “The girls know that we’re in pursuit of being a great basketball team and we feel, from the coaching staff and the players, that our best basketball is still out there. Offensively and defensively, we did exactly what we wanted to.”
That 40-point win started with a detailed game plan.
The Rangers, who improved to 9-2 overall, studied the Ravens the same way they do any other team on the schedule and created three goals for the game: control the dangerous Lauren Calhoun, defend against Ravenna’s perimeter shooting and win the rebounding battle.
Calhoun was limited to just six points, Ravenna converted on just three 3-pointers and North won the rebounding battle, 47-20.
“If we get two of our three main goals in a game, we typically get a win,” Force said. “But, when we get three, it gets a little lopsided like it did today.”
North standouts Samantha Pirosko and Destiny Leo helped the Rangers take control of the game early.
Leo scored 12 of North’s 16 first quarter points on the way to a 22-point effort and Pirosko scored 10 of her game-high 27 in the second quarter as the Rangers built a 38-15 halftime lead.
“When those two get it going like that it’s hard to stop,” Force said. “You can’t put two girls on both of them without leaving somebody open. They both came to play tonight.”
Leo and Pirosko did all of the damage for the Rangers in the first quarter as the Rangers found their footing.
Val Arnold hit a big 3- and Anaunda Lyons also found the net in the second quarter as the Rangers used a 25-1 run that spilled into the third quarter to pull away.
“Even though we had 16 in the first quarter, I felt like the rhythm wasn’t where we wanted it to be,” Force said. “It was kind of a choppy first quarter but in the second quarter, for the second game in a row, we made a big run and extended the lead. In the middle of the second quarter we got into a little bit better flow and I think that was keyed by our defensive deflections, our defensive rebounds and getting up and down a little bit more.”
North forced 18 Ravenna turnovers and recorded 14 steals in the win.
“I thought the key was the defensive stops got us out and when we picked up the pace of the game a little bit we were able to get rebounds and get out and run a little bit,” Force said.
Leo finished with five steals, three blocked shots and a team-high 12 rebounds. Pirosko added 11 rebounds and three steals.
Dior Morgan pitched in with five points, Lyons finished with four and Maddy Hamilton and Arnold both finished with three. Caitlyn Stuart, Taylor Valaitis and Avril Drew all contributed with two points. Caitlyn Weber scored one.
Angel Johnston pulled down five rebounds in eight minutes and Sammi Valaitis and Liv Oostdyk also played for the Rangers.
“I thought this was a little bit of a trap game for us coming off the Kenston game and having South on Wednesday, so I stressed to our guys that we’ve got to embrace every opportunity to play together,” Force said. “We can’t look by anybody. I don’t care where they’re from or what their record is, you’ve got to respect everybody and fear none.”
North travels to rival South on Wednesday.
North 71, Ravenna 31
Ravenna (3-7): J. Caples 7, Pooler 2, Robinson 3, Calhoun 6, D. Caples 2, Ruppel 4, Frost 4, Major 3
North (9-2): T. Valaitis 2, Arnold 3, Stuart 2, Lyons 4, Hamilton 3, Leo 22, Pirosko 27, Weber 1, Morgan 5, Drew 2
Ravenna 10 5 7 9 — 31
North 16 22 17 16 — 71
Free throws: Ravenna 4 of 6, North 7 of 12; 3-pointers: Ravenna 3 (J. Caples, Robinson, Ruppel), North 8 (Leo 4); Rebounds: Ravenna 20, North 47 (Leo 12); Assists: Ravenna 9, North 17 (Leo 6)