Jimmy Arnold drained three 3-pointers and scored a game-high 17 points to lead North to a 70-48 non-conference win at Collinwood on Tuesday.
With the win, the Rangers snapped a three-game skid and improved to 3-6 on the year.
“The guys earned this win tonight,” said North coach Rob Koelling. “Coming off of three losses, two of which we had the lead going into halftime, the players battled and scrapped for 32 minutes to make sure we held onto the lead this time.”
North’s offense got off to a hot start as the Rangers penetrated and kicked the ball out to open shooters for open looks at the hoop.
“The key tonight was that we attacked the basket early on, which opened up high percentage 3-point looks for our shooters,” Koelling said. “A combination of getting to the free throw line and forcing the defense to collapse to open up perimeter shots translated to a 29-point first quarter. I like our chances in any game if we come out from the start like that.”
Arnold helped the Rangers find their rhythm early on.
“My shots were dropping in the first half and also the second,” he said. “My teammates, Brandon Barron and Brian Skolny, did a good job of getting the outlet from rebounds and pushing it to the middle of the court. I just filled out and they had good penetration, driving and kicking out for wide open shots and tonight they were dropping. Coach set out a goal to have at least six points or six free throws per quarter in the paint. We knew they were going to try to block everything, so we used pump fakes a lot and as we drove it just opened up great shots for me and my teammates.”
Barron pitched in with 14 points and Nate Scott finished with 11 for the Rangers.
North’s defense also stepped up in limiting Collinwood standing Va’Shonne Hemmingway to just 15 points.
“Our goal defensively was to challenge Hemmingway and keep him well below his 25 points per game average and force other guys to make shots,” Koelling said. “Brian Skolny and Cory Cantrell did a tremendous job face-guarding him and limited him to just 15 points, 10 below his average.”
Scott also was a force on the boards and Evan Liddington contributed with seven points.
“The bench was the main factor in the outcome tonight,” Koelling said. “Evan Liddington and Nate Scott stepped on the floor and impacted the game with their scoring and rebounding. Nate was the third leading scorer tonight, but some of the rebounds he pulled down were much bigger than his points. Cantrell scored as well but he let his defense speak for itself.”
Snapping the losing streak provided the Rangers with some much-needed momentum heading into Friday’s rivalry game at South.
“This win is huge for us,” Arnold said. “Most of us have been in a shooting slump lately, but coach always told us when you’re not feeling your shot you have to drive get to the free throw line and move from the paint out to get your shot back. I’m proud of my brothers. We battled tonight and this is a huge win going into Friday against the team down the street. Most of us are getting our touch back and we have a lot of momentum right now. We cannot be satisfied though, we have to keep getting better and battle for the next opponent.”
North 70, Collinwood 48
North : Arnold 17,Barron 14, Scott 11, Liddington 7, Cunningham 6, Cantrell 6, Tanski 5, Skolny 3, Broja 1
Collinwood: Hemmingway 15, McKenzie 11, Davidson 10, J. Bester 6, Martin 4, Anderson 2
North 29 12 13 16 — 70
Collinwood 11 11 14 12 — 48
Free throws: North 10 of 17, Collinwood 6 of 14; 3-pointers: North 6 (Arnold 3, Cantrell, Liddington, Scott), Collinwood (J.Bester, McKenzie)