Boys Varsity Basketball · Rangers hammer Panthers in showdown of top teams

Abby Carter

Based on Saturday’s result, the North Rangers disagreed with their position in the latest News-Herald Girls Basketball Top of the Crop.

The Rangers came in at No. 2 while Euclid earned the top spot in the rankings.

That’s likely to change following North’s emphatic 81-54 victory at Euclid on Saturday night.

“We came in focused and I think this group has done a good job of just staying in the present and locking in on whatever game is in front of us,” North coach Paul Force said. “We were able to take advantage of some of the things we wanted to and I’m proud of their preparation and execution on both ends tonight.”

Junior Destiny Leo stepped up to the challenge as well in finishing with a game-high 35 points and she also led the Rangers with 10 rebounds.

“We knew they were going to come out and play hard and want a piece of us,” Leo said. “We had to come out ready to play and make every play matter. It felt really good coming out with the ‘W.’”

Thanks to 16 first-half points from Maddy Hamilton, the Rangers jumped out to a 47-28 halftime lead. They closed out the game on an 18-7 run in the fourth quarter.

Abby Carter finished with 17 points and Hamilton contributed her 16 with eight rebounds. Taylor Valaitis added nine points and six rebounds.

“It helps when the ball goes in for sure and Maddy changed the game early on with a 16-point first half,” Force said. “It’s hard to just key on one kid when we have five or six who can go get double digits any given game. It’s just a matter of us making the right play and trusting each other to do what we do well.”

Euclid made a run at the Rangers in the third quarter but only outscored the Rangers by three points in the period.

“That Euclid team is a good team,” Force said. “They’ve got a lot of wins ahead of them this year. This was just a game where I feel like things went our way early and even though they made a couple of runs, they weren’t able to overcome that big first half that we had.”

Constance Chaplin led Euclid with 19 points.

Carter was assigned to keep Chaplin from doing any more damage.

“I have to credit Abby for keeping Connie to 19 and making her work for them,” Force said. “She had a lot of help, but she was the primary defender on her and she made her work for every point tonight. It was a very impressive defensive effort from Abby and the entire team.”

The Rangers improved to 8-0 overall and likely will be ranked No. 1 when they travel to Western Reserve Conference rival Chardon on Wednesday.

North 81, Euclid 54

North 19 28 16 18 – 81
Euclid 13 15 19 7 – 54

Euclid (6-3); Childress 2, Way 0, Curtain 6, White 2, Clinton 0, Chaplin 19, Robinson 3, Goodman 12, Reese 10, Thomas 0, King 0

North (8-0) – C Hamilton 0, Carter 17, Hammond 0, M Hamilton 16, Leo 35, Vajusi 0, Drew 4, Valaitis 9, C Wilson 3, Oostdyk 0

FG; Euclid 22/73 (30%), North 26/48 (54%). FT; Euclid 2/6 (33%) , North 16/23 (69%). Three-pointers; Euclid 8 (Curtain 2, Chaplin 1, Robinson 1, Goodman 4), North 13 (Leo 5, M Hamilton 4, Carter 3). Rebounds; Euclid 33, North 34 (Leo 10). Assists; Euclid 12, North 21 (Carter 6)