By ROB HAMILTON
While it wasn’t the best his team has played this year, Northmor girls’ basketball coach Daryl Uhde was happy to pick up a home win over Highland Tuesday night by a 45-39 margin.
The Knights (5-4, 4-2) struggled offensively, but were able to put together a couple timely runs to first build a lead against the Scots and, then, to maintain that lead through the closing stretch.
“We won ugly, but it’s a win and in a conference game, that’s important,” said Uhde. “We’ve been shooting good, but tonight, our shots weren’t falling and we rely a lot on our outside shooting.”
After Madison Swihart opened the game with a three-pointer, Northmor was only able to score once more from the field in the first quarter. However, the Knight defense did a good job of keeping Highland (2-8, 2-4) off the scoreboard, as well, holding them to five points in the opening eight minutes.
The Scots did briefly take a 5-4 lead late in the period on a three-pointer by Parker Steck, but Swihart hit a basket in the final minute to give her team a one-point lead heading into the second quarter.
Northmor would seemingly take control of the game in the opening 3:30 of the second, going on an 11-0 run. Five different girls contributed, with Swihart draining a three and Lydia Farley, Karalee Patterson, Cheyenne Shelton and Karlee Carroll all adding baskets.
“At the beginning of the second, we struggled scoring and they did score, so it was a lot easier for them to pull away,” said Highland coach Whitney Levering. “The girls played hard and got in a situation to try to win.”
The Scots would fight back, though, finishing the quarter on a 12-3 run, with Harlee Steck scoring five points and Krista Walters adding a three-pointer, to get within a 20-17 margin at the half.
Highland would not be able to get over the hump in the second half, though. Patterson opened the third quarter with a three-pointer to put Northmor in front by six points and the Knights would increase that margin to as many as 11 points.
Walters would finish the third with a basket and Harlee Steck opened the fourth with a three-pointer to make the score 38-32 in favor of the Knights, but a four-minute drought proved fatal for Highland.
While Northmor only got two free throws from Shelton and a three-pointer from Patterson during this time, that was enough to give them a 43-32 advantage with just over three minutes to play. While the Scots outscored them 7-2 over the final minutes, they would not be able to get back within striking distance.
“At the beginning of the fourth, they put on a press and we kind of freaked out and had turnovers,” said Levering. “We had two of our starting players unable to play tonight because of injury and had to have girls come off the bench in different roles. I’m proud of how they came out and that’s part of the reason we were able to stick with them.”
Northmor had balanced scoring in the game with Swihart finishing with 12 points, both Patterson and Farley tallying 10 and Carroll finishing with eight. For the Scots, Harlee Steck had 13 and Walters added 12.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCSW