Brian Skolny scored a game-high 17 points to lead North to a 49-43 non-conference win at Kent Roosevelt on Tuesday.
With the win, the Rangers improved 3-4 overall and snapped a two-game skid.
“You want to stop the bleeding,” North coach Rob Koelling said of ending the losing streak. “After the two losses, we had a direct film session this week and focused on not finishing plays, whether it be rebounding or closing out on shooters. That’s something we really preached from start to finish tonight.”
That film session also led the Rangers to set out to attack the hoop tonight and that strategy paid off as North converted 17 of 23 free throws ties while the Roughriders were limited to just two chances from the charity stripe.
“We really preached catching the ball downhill and not just waiting for it to come to you,” Koelling said. “We wanted them to catch it and attack. Brian Skolny and Mikey Duleba kept us composed and they were looking to attack. A number of guys were looking to get to the hoop but those two went to the line 14 times.”
Skolny finished 4-for-4 from the free throw line while Duleba was 6-of-10.
“We looked to get the ball in the post tonight to open up the rest of the floor and as soon as I would score a couple in the post it would open up for our shooters outside for easy shots,” Skolny said. “Another thing that was working was what we’ve been preaching a lot recently, our downhill attack mentality and how we need to go at teams on offense.”
Duleba finished with eight points and Riley Cunningham contributed to the win with seven.
Mo Morgan and Cam Proctor, who scored the first three points of his varsity career, helped the Rangers to shut down Roosevelt’s top scorers.
“They stepped in and played big minutes tonight,” Koelling said. “They made them earn their points. Between those two and Skolny and Duleba, we held their top scorers to 13 and 10 and those were hard-earned points.”
North led 16-12 after the first quarter and 28-21 at halftime. The Rangers’ defense played well in the second half to keep Roosevelt from mounting a comeback.
“Our defense won us that game,” Skolny said. “We didn’t have the greatest shooting performance, so we had to rely on our defense to keep us in the game. It was a complete team effort from the coaches to the starters to the bench and bench energy. We know teams don’t like pressure and they get frustrated when pressure is applied, so that was a main focus, and as always, just keep your head and have that ‘next play’ mentality.”
North returns to action on Friday at Chardon.
North 49, Kent Roosevelt 43
North (3-4, 1-2 WRC): Duleba 8, Qorri 3, Cunningham 7, Broja 5, Skolny 17, Scott 6, Proctor 3
Kent Roosevelt (1-4): Larkin 4, Common 13, Daetwyler 4, Sawyer 6, Holman 3, Howard 10, Moxley 3
North 16 12 13 8 — 49
Kent Roosevelt 12 9 13 9 — 43
Free throws: North 17 of 23, Kent Roosevelt 1 of 2; 3-pointers: North 4 (Qorri 4, Cunningham 1, Skolny 1, Proctor 1), Kent Roosevelt 4 (Sawyer 2, Common 1, Holman 1)