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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

North Loses By One

Both Panthers team are searching for their first victory this season.  But North girls basketball came the closest to reaching that goal in the Tip Off games hosted at Northridge over Thanksgiving weekend.  Their first game was a lopsided loss against Carlisle but their next night’s game was against Northridge and that game was an exciting game that was down to wire.

The Indians have decent size, can shoot the ball both outside (hitting 7 3 pointers in the 3rd quarter) and inside.  And they are no slouches on the defensive end of the court.  North kept pace with them for one half, but after that the Indians expanded their lead and thanks to a lot of North turnovers, they won handily 57-22.  Freshman point guard Cassi Stinson lead Panther scoring with 10, Sara Harris 3, Megan Duffy 3, Tiarra Alford 3, Kara Simpson 1, December Strawser 2.

The most dramatic game of the weekend was the final game – North versus Northridge. North has already lost one starter for 2 weeks with a preseason injury and against Northridge they were short a second starter so that made the level of difficulty a little harder for North.  Both teams were slow to get going in the first quarter.  Sarah Harris nailed a 3 late in the quarter to give North a lead they would hold onto for a good part of the game.  In the second and third quarters, North would make a run, but Northridge would bounce back with a little run of their own and stay on the Panthers heels. 

Outside shooting was what kept North on top during this time.  They connected on 6 treys in the first 3 quarters – but wouldn’t hit one at all in the last quarter.  The game momentum shifted back and forth at the end of the 3rd quarter.  North made a nice 7-2 run and seemed poised to put the game away.  They were up 27-16, their only double digit lead of the night.  But Northridge made some adjustments after a time out and went on a 10-0 run of their own and their fans raised the roof when midway through the 4th quarter Northridge gained the lead.

Now the game went back and forth as the North came back and tied the score. And foul shots became critical in the last few minutes.  North was giving away bonus and senior Megan Duffy, a post player, fouled out with about a minute left.  Northridge sunk both throws to give Northridge the lead.  And with 20 seconds left, North was forced to foul to get the ball back and again they sunk both of them to extend their lead.  With 3 second lefts North inbounded the ball, but didn’t get the 3 point shot they needed for a tie – sinking instead a two point shot and losing 36-35 in a thrilling game.

Scoring for North: December Strawser (6), Sara Harris (3), Cassi Stinson (3), Allie Kring (9), Megan Duffy (6), Hailey Hillard (3), Tiarra Alford (5)

Coach Jessica Cherry on the Northridge game:  “They came out in the second half to shut down our outside shooting and I think they were successful in that.  Having our post player foul out at the end was a huge difference.  But I think we played a lot better today and we were short one of our starters with the flu, and it’s a whole different game if we have her here.  Keeping momentum was hard, I think we got a little tired at the end from playing games two nights in a row."

Cassi Stinson: “She made some good shots at the end of the game and was the leading scorer against Carlisle.  She did hurt her ankle and that may have affected her in the beginning of the game.  But she has stepped into her role as point guard and been a good leader too.  Allie Kring had a good game too, she shot well for us. Once we get our injured players back we should be able to get that inside – outside game going.”

South Starts Season

Twin Valley South’s girls basketball team began their season this weekend by playing in the CCC/SWBL Tip Off that was hosted at Northridge this season.  This season’s edition of the Panthers has more players than last year, but is still lacking in Varsity experience – and height. The team will need to be scrappy and aggressive on defense to be successful this season.

And that was the way that the team started on Friday night.  They pressed the host Polar Bears and used an attacking defense to gain an early advantage that lasted to half time.  But the third quarter was all Northridge as they outscored the Panthers and gained a lead that would not be relinquished. What had been a narrow 2 point lead at half time was turned into a deficit as South would fall 41-25. Freshman Milan Crews lead scoring for the Panthers with 9 points, Abbey Creech scored 7, Jayce Fisher 5, and Hailey Keener had 3.

Carlisle was clearly the best team in the tip off and they were next up for the Panthers. South tried to start out the same way against the Indians – a full court press and a man to man defense in the half court.  But Carlisle could not be contained so South then settled into a zone defense for the remainder of the night.  But South’s lack of height showed as Carlisle was getting 2 and 3 shot attempts on their possessions while South would only get 1 attempt.  South was also cold from the foul line – missing their first 5 attempts.  Although they would not have made a difference this time, those are lost points that can make a difference in a close game.

South scoring against Carlisle: Creech 7, Keener 8, Morgan Newhart 4.

Coach Mabry – against Northridge: “We played well early, we were up 8-zip.  We came out pressing, got on them early, and caught them by surprise.  Which is something we need to do – we have some quickness on the team and we need to utilize it.  Now we are inexperienced and we tend to get out of control with that quickness.  But as long as we are being aggressive, I don’t have a problem with it.”

He continued, “But our biggest thing right now is our shooting and our passing. I think we can get to where we need to be – it might take awhile. We mixed together some people that played last year with some people that came out this year and it will take a little bit for them to gel as a team.  Even with some juniors and a couple of seniors on the team – not much varsity experience."

The Carlisle game: “Defensively we tried to do a couple of things tonight that we hadn’t worked on in practice – this early in the season we need to find what we can do.  And I will give them credit, I can call a time out and diagram something and they will go out and execute it.  Which with some teams in the past we couldn’t do.  It is rare for a young team to be able to just sit and listen, then go out and do what I ask."

Finally, “There is a lot more to do, we are always going to be challenged to do defensive rebounding.  We can take the ball to the hole – we are aggressive with our quickness. But that quickness has to translate to rebounds at the other end. Rebounding is based on awareness – you can’t just stand around and wait for the ball to come to you. And we need to get better with our shooting.  We got some good looks, but just couldn’t knock down our shots. ”