Young North team loses three on week

By Jeremy Erskine -

LEWISBURG — The Tri-County North girls basketball team had three games this week, taking on Preble Shawnee, Ansonia, and Bethel.

The young Panther squad dropped all three match-ups and has been unable to secure a win since their opening game against Northridge.

North started the week against in-county opponent Preble Shawnee, falling to the Arrows 84-34 on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Shawnee jumped out to a big lead, posting a 24-8 lead after the first quarter. They continued the defensive effort and offensive explosion, outscoring the Panthers 23-6 in the second as well, taking a 47-14 lead into the break.

In the final frame, North did score 12 points and held the Arrows to just 15.

Sara Harris led North with nine points – hitting three three-pointers – while Tiarra Alford also added nine. Cassi Stinson chipped in seven points, Riley Cruse had four points, and Abby Rupp and Preston Lipinski both scored two apiece.

North then hosted Ansonia on Thursday, Jan. 21, falling to the away team 61-34.

It stayed fairly close through much of the contest, with Ansonia taking a 17-8 lead into the second and a 34-20 lead into halftime.

“I felt we handled their defense well. (Ansonia) had (Brooke) Neal that, we knew if she got hot on the perimeter, she’d cause us some issues,” said North head coach Jessica Cherry. “She is a good shooter and we had a hard time stopping her.”

Neal hit three treys in the first and posted 11 of her 23 in that timeframe.

After the break, the Tigers outscored North 16-6 in the third, pushing the lead to 24 points and out of reach for the Panthers.

“Preston Lipinski stepped up and scored seven points for us along with three steals. She is fast for a guard and plays good defense for us. She really helps push the ball up the floor as well,” said Cherry.

Stinson lead all North scorers with 12 to go along with Lipinski’s seven. Alford also posted seven points while Rupp had four points and both Chelsey Strawser and Cruse added two on the night.

North closed out the week against Bethel, losing 53-22 on Saturday, Jan. 23.

They were doomed from a zero-point first quarter as the Bees outscored them 13-0 in the period.

“We couldn’t find a good rhythm for our offense. We had a lot of unlucky shots and couldn’t connect,” said Cherry. “We definitely are playing from behind and we are finding ourselves having to catch up. We must find the offense from the beginning. Bethel had a tall lineup as well and we did well rebounding but didn’t get many offensive shots back up.”

They did score in the beginning of the second to end the drought, posting eight points while Bethel scored 17. They also scored eight points in the third while holding Bethel to 14. In the fourth, it was the best quarter of the night for the Panthers, scoring six while holding the Bees to just nine.

“We will continue to each and every day work on gaining confidence and building team unity. These girls are learning the game and playing against upperclassman,” said Cherry.

Harris led the team with six points and seven rebounds while Alford wasn’t far behind, also posting six points and pulling down six rebounds. Stinson added four points while Lipinski had four points and three steals and Cruse had two on the day.

North was scheduled to host Dixie on Monday, Jan. 25 and will hit the road to take on Covington on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 5:30 p.m. They will also travel to Stivers on Tuesday, Feb. 2 for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off.

By Jeremy Erskine

Reach Jeremy at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.

Reach Jeremy at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.