NORTON — Balanced scoring and efficient free-throw shooting turned out to be the difference Monday when Green visited Norton for a nonleague girls basketball game.
Green earned a 57-48 win with four players in double figures and a fifth player not far behind against a scrappy Norton squad that has wins over Kenston and Walsh Jesuit.
“Our last game against [North Canton] Hoover, I think we all kind of slept walked through it,” Green sophomore Sydnie Pearce said. “I think we worked together as a team in this game and our effort was there the whole way.”
Sophomore Olivia Payne led Green (8-6) with 13 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Pearce, senior Kelsie Glass and freshman Alyssa Ziehler each scored 11 points, and junior Marissa Berlin contributed nine points.
“We usually have two leading scorers, so it was nice to have balanced scoring tonight,” said Glass, who also had five rebounds and four assists.
Kelsey Hosey paced Norton (10-3) with 11 points, 12 rebounds and three steals, and Bryana Housley had 10 points, nine steals and five assists.
“Whether it is a league game or a nonleague game, you gotta come out, you gotta D up, you gotta box out and you gotta make free throws,” Green coach Tracy Miller said.
Green made 19-of-24 free throws compared to 11-of-20 for Norton.
“We missed a lot of easy shots around the basket and dug ourselves a huge hole,” Norton coach Brian Miller said. “Look, that is a good basketball team. You can’t go by what their record is because they are playing the Canton McKinleys, the GlenOaks and the North Cantons. They are well schooled and they burned us on the press. … They made a lot of layups and free throws.”
The Panthers coach added he is confident his team will “bounce back.”
Green, which is 2-5 in the Federal League, led 12-2 in Monday’s opening minutes. The Bulldogs then led 17-9 after one quarter, 25-17 at halftime and 36-27 through three quarters.
“The strength of the Federal League with the top three teams — McKinley, GlenOak, Hoover — they all have got big Division I [college] players with quickness and strength,” Tracy Miller said. “That helps us in games like this, but my hat goes off to Norton. They are very well coached and they have got some nice players. I look for that team to go very far in the Division II tournament.”
In addition to the scoring, Pearce had four assists and four steals; Ziehler had six rebounds, four steals, two assists and two blocks; and Berlin had eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
“It is a learning experience playing in the Federal League because we are a young team with a starting lineup with a couple sophomores and a freshman,” Payne said.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com.