Girls Varsity Basketball · Leo scores 41 in win over rival

Destiny Leo

Destiny Leo scored a career-high 41 points to lead North to a 73-44 victory over visiting South on Wednesday.

The win was the 20th straight Western Reserve Conference victory for the Rangers, who beat the rival Rebels for the eighth straight time.

“What a performance by that kid,” North coach Paul Force said of Leo. “It was a special night for Des on the offensive end and I felt like the girls found her when she had good scoring situations. That shows selflessness and willingness to do whatever is best for the team in the moment. They had a hard time stopping Des on the offensive end and I think we were able to take advantage of that.”

Leo finished 15-of-27 from the floor and 6-for-6 from the free throw line. She drained five 3-pointers, pulled down seven rebounds, blocked three shots and recorded a pair of steals.

“It feels awesome,” Leo said of the big night. “Rivalry games always give you a little more energy to come out and play your best game. I really had no idea I had that much. But, I couldn’t do any of it without my girls.”

North led 24-4 after the first quarter and 45-23 at halftime.

The Rangers focused on shutting down South’s top scorers, Grace Woodcock and Emma Woolnough, and forced the rest of the Rebels to work for their points.

Woolnough was held to six points and Woodcock went scoreless.

“They had some kids step up and have nice offensive games, but I feel like we had a solid team and individual defense from start to finish and that’s something we know we need to do to get to that next level,” Force said.

Abby Carter turned in a double-double for the Rangers as she finished with 15 points and a team-high 12 rebounds.

Taylor Valaitis finished with eight points and 11 rebounds for the Rangers, who improved to 12-0 overall and 6-0 in the WRC.

North hosts Cleveland Heights on Monday.

“We will have to take care of our bodies and minds and show up tomorrow refocused to get back to work,” Force said. “But, a win over South always feels good. These girls earned it tonight.”

North 73, South 44

South: Blasinsky 14, Matriano 9, Tekavec 7, Woolnough 6, Matriano 5, Znidarsic 3

North: Leo 4, Carter 15, Hamilton 5, Drew 4, Valaitis 8

South 4 19 11 10 — 44
North 24 21 15 13 — 73

Free throws: South 3 of 6, North 10 of 16; 3-pointers: South 9 (Blasinsky 4, Matriano, Tekavec, Znidarsic), North 7 (Leo 5, Hamilton, Valaitis); Rebounds: South 24, North 45 (Carter 12); Assists: South 12, North 13 (Valaitis 6)