Northmor girls surge in second half to win
It was a tale of two halves when Northmor traveled to Cardington for a girls’ basketball game Friday.
In the first half, Cardington’s defense stifled the Knights, allowing the Pirates to take a 16–14 lead into the half.
However, in the second half, the Knights mustered 33 points on their way to coming back for a 47–34 road win.
“I’m proud of the 10 kids I had in the game,” said Knight coach John Smith. “They took care of each other and got the ball to the open person. I thought it was a real good team effort. I think it’s a big step for a young team to allow the game to come to them.”
The two teams played evenly for much of the first half. Both Taylor Shirley and Keaton Mowry scored four apiece for the Knights in the opening eight minutes, but the score was tied at 9–9 thanks to balanced scoring by the Pirates. Clarisa Lyons scored three for the Pirates, while Kaitlyn Kavan-augh, Jane Perry and Haley Foltz all added two.
The score would still be tied midway through the second quarter at 14–14, but the Knights were held scoreless over the final four minutes of the half, allowing the Pirates to take a two-point lead into the intermission.
Kavanaugh opened the third period with a bucket to give Cardington a four-point lead, but Northmor would come back, getting four straight points from Chantel Cline to tie the score.
Cardington would take their last lead of the game with 2:22 to play in the third on a putback by Lyons that made the score 21–20, but the Knights finished the quarter with a 7–2 run highlighted by three free throws by Kyndall Williams.
Pirate coach Jodi Brown felt that her team needed to do better at moving the ball offensively and matching up defensively — two aspects of the game that troubled them in the second half.
“We struggle with our overall movement,” she said. “It’s something we work on in practice, but haven’t committed to in games yet. We also just need to do a better job of matching up.”
Shirley scored five quick points in the fourth quarter for the Knights, as they boosted their lead to a 32–24 margin. After a Lyons’ basket, Williams scored five straight to give Northmor a 37–26 lead with under four minutes to play.
While Lyons scored eight points down the stretch for Cardington, no one else on the team lit up the scoreboard during that time and the Knights were able to maintain a double-digit lead until the end of the game.
Lyons led Cardington with 19, but struggled to get those points, scoriing 12 in the fourth quarter. Both coaches noted that was a big key to the game.
“She earned her 19,” said Smith. “I don’t remember her getting but one putback that was easy. I was proud of the girls for not letting her get to the foul line and hurting us there.”
Brown added, “Clarisa has been shooting 40-something percent for us, but she couldn’t get her normal shots to fall. We didn’t play awful tonight; they just played better.”
Northmor got 13 from Shirley and 12 from Williams. Mowry added eight in the contest.
For the Knights, Smith is hoping his team can get a few more wins to improve their postseason positioning. The coach is hoping to avoid a situation like last year, where they got stuck against a top seed in the very first round.
“We needed to be 8-and-something now and get to 10-and-something to avoid the Africentrics,” he said. “We need a couple more wins to build some confidence for not just the tournament, but also our offseason for next year.”