LEWISBURG — The Tri-County North girls basketball team ended the last week of their regular season with three games, traveling to Stivers on Tuesday, Feb. 2 before hosting Miami East on Thursday, Feb. 4 and National Trail on Saturday, Feb. 6.
Against Stivers, North played a close first quarter and headed into the second only down 8-6. But an 18-point second quarter by the Tigers, while also holding North to just two points in the frame, pushed their lead to 26-8.
In the first quarter, the Panthers only had one turnover but were plagued by eight turnovers in the second, aiding in the lopsided quarter.
The second half was slightly for fruitful for North, as they scored five points in the third and 12 points in the fourth, but the lead was too vast to make a comeback.
“The second half was better on ball control. Preston Lipinski ran the floor well and helped connect the scoring for (us),” said head coach Jessica Cherry. “But we were too far behind to catch up. We must play four quarters strong.”
Cassi Stinson led North with 13 points, two assists and eight rebounds while Lipinski added five points. Riley Cruse chipped in four points and two rebounds while Tiarra Alford had two points.
On Thursday, North hosted a tough Miami East squad who made scoring tough for the home team.
The Panthers only scored two points in the first and only managed six points in the entire first half, heading into the break down 53-6. They were able to more buckets to fall in the second half, scoring eight points in the third and nine points in the fourth.
Sarah Harris led North with eight points while Shyanna Baker added five points. Lipinski had four points and four steals as Stinson chipped in two points, two steals, and seven rebounds. Also contributing were Abby Rupp and Chelsey Strawser, who each had two points on the night.
North ended their season with a close battle against in-county rival National Trail on Saturday, ending with a 33-30 loss at the hands of the Blazers.
A slow start was once again North’s undoing, with the team only scoring four points in the first quarter and turning the ball over eight times in the half.
“(We) came out flat in the first quarter and battled strong against (Trail). In the first quarter, we couldn’t connect on the offensive end. We were missing easy bunny shots,” said Cherry.
The Panthers scored seven points in the second quarter but went into halftime down 19-11. The second half was much stronger, with TCN holding Trail to two points in the third while posting five points of their own in the period.
In the final quarter, North scored 14 points but it wasn’t quite enough as the team allowed the Blazers to score 12 in the frame as well.
“In the second half, we came out strong. We rebounded the ball and penetrated the floor by getting the ball up the court. Preston Lipinski and Cassi Stinson were breaking the full court press,” said Cherry.
Cruse posted nine points and 10 rebounds while Alford added eight points and five rebounds. Stinson had four points, two steals, and six rebounds as Harris chipped in three points and six rebounds. Both Lipinski and Rupp also added three apiece.
North drew a first round bye in the tournament but the 11-seeded Panthers will play the winner of Miami Valley and Jefferson on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m. at Brookville.
Reach Jeremy at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.