NORTH EAST — Throughout the season, it’s become apparent that if North East shoots the ball well early in a game, it will play well offensively throughout that contest.
The Indians lived up to that trend in their matchup against visiting Perryville as they made a couple of baskets early to gain confidence, propelling them to a 40-26 Susquehanna Division girls’ basketball victory Thursday night.
“The girls had confidence when they shot the ball. They made a couple early, and that gave them confidence for the rest of the game,” North East head coach Chris Hadjis said. “If they get those first one or two right off the bat, they have confidence for the rest of the game. If they miss a couple, they get worried about missing. We keep telling them, ‘The shots will come, keeping shooting.’”
Caroline Roberts got the Indians rolling when she made a 3-pointer in the game’s first minute. After the Panthers scored three points on a field goal and a free throw from Sierra Strong to tie the game, Riley gave North East the lead with a short-range basket in the game’s second minute.
Those two quick baskets allowed the Indians to gain confidence from the floor and helped them build an 11-7 lead after the game’s first eight minutes. They continued their accurate shooting into the second quarter, outscoring Perryville 11-6 in the frame to build a 22-13 lead at halftime.
“We just just slowed the ball down a bunch. We tend to work a real fast pace, and when we slow the ball down, it’s way easier to make baskets and do a little bit better,” Riley said of North East’s improved shooting.
The Indians opened the third quarter with seven unanswered points to put the game out of reach at 29-13. Their lead fluctuated between 10 and 19 points for the remainder of the game as they held on for the victory.
One reason for North East’s offensive success against the Panthers was an even scoring output with Riley and Roberts each scoring a team-high 13 points. Hadjis says that balance is something he wants to see from his team.
“That’s what we want. We rather have 10 girls scoring eight to 13 points than one girl who can score 30 because it’s a lot harder to stop them than it is to stop one,” Hadjis said.
Strong had a game-high 15 points for Perryville.