North used a third-quarter run to pull away from host Chardon in a key Western Reserve Conference game on Wednesday.
The Rangers outscored the Hilltoppers in the second half, 28-16, and went on to win 49-37.
“Anytime we come here we expect to be in a battle and tonight was no different,” North coach Paul Force said. “Cullen (Harris) and his staff always have their kids prepared and playing hard. That’s Chardon basketball. I think our response in the third quarter was crucial.”
North’s third-quarter run was necessary after Chardon’s Sydney Feller lit up the scoreboard by scoring 13 of her 16 points in the second quarter to help the Hilltoppers to erase an 11-4 first-quarter deficit and send the game into halftime tied, 21-21.
“Syd is a kid who can get hot in a hurry,” Harris said. “Her teammates did a good job of getting her the ball in fortuitous situations. She was more active offensively and looking for her shot and space.”
Abby Carter and Maddy Hamilton both hit 3-pointers in the third quarter and Destiny Leo attacked the basket to help the Rangers open the second half with momentum on their side.
Leo finished with a game-high 19 points and Carter added 16 for the Rangers.
North’s defense limited the Hilltoppers to just 16 points in the final 16 minutes.
“This is some of the best defense we’ve played,” Force said. “Keeping a team like that in the 30s isn’t easy and I think our girls executed on the defensive end outside of that second quarter and a couple lapses. Anytime you get a road win in the league, you’ve got to be grateful and take it.”
The Hilltoppers struggled to finish at the basket in the second half.
“We went cold in the second half offensively,” Harris said. “We got good looks but we missed four layups in a two-minute span. To their credit, they went down and scored and extended the lead off our mistakes and missed shots. When push came to shove in the fourth quarter, they have two really good players who can break down a defense and create a shot for themselves or others.”
North improved to 9-0 overall and 4-0 in the WRC. Chardon dropped to 4-3, 2-2.
North 49, Chardon 37
North 11 10 14 14 – 49
Chardon 4 17 10 6 – 37
Chardon (4-3); Pastor 0, Thompson 0, Nichols 5, Feller 16, McCartney 4, Liechty 5, Noerr 3, Koppelman 4
North (9-0) – C Hamilton 0, Carter 16, Hammond 0, M Hamilton 6, Leo 19, Vajusi 0, Drew 4, Valaitis 4, C Wilson 0, Oostdyk 0
FG; Chardon 11/46 (23%), North 16/43 (37%). FT; Chardon 9/13 (69%) , North 10/13 (76%). Three pointers; Chardon 6 (Feller 4, Nichols, Liechty), North 7 (Carter 3, Leo 2, M Hamilton 2). Rebounds; Chardon 27, North 27 (Carter 6). Assists; Chardon 9, North 12 (Valaitis 4)