Destiny Leo scored a game-high 17 points to lead North to a 52-29 non-conference win at Perry on Wednesday but the night belonged to senior Samantha Pirosko, who scored 15 points to become North’s career scoring leader.
Pirosko now has 1,554 points in her career, surpassing the 1,551 Theresa Habat scored from 1991-1994.
“I don’t know how to describe the feeling,” Pirosko said. “It is a special feeling to know that my teammates helped me all the way and I could not have done it without them.”
Habat’s record stood for 23 years before Pirosko broke it in her final regular season game as a Ranger.
“It’s a little surreal to think of Samantha as the all-time leading scorer at North,” said North coach Paul Force. “I mean, there has been some outstanding players and teams to wear the black and orange through the years. One thing is for sure, she’s earned every single one of those 1,554 points. Here is a kid who shows up every day, listens and works hard. It’s that simple; as easy as those three things sound, she does it all the time without having to be reminded or motivated. She wants to be great and I don’t think we’ve ever had a player here come in and make the kind of progress that she has in four years. The craziest thing is I know she will be back in the gym or weight room or film room tomorrow, staying humble and hungry and ready for whatever the next challenge is. She’s impressive.”
Perry did its best to keep Pirosko from reaching that milestone as the Pirates held her to just two first-half points.
Leo scored 11 in the first 16 minutes, and Val Arnold drained three 3-pointers, which forced the Pirates to make some defensive adjustments. That opened the door for Pirosko to get to the hoop in the second half.
The Rangers outscored the Pirates, 14-3, in the fourth quarter to win the battle of conference champions. North won the WRC and finished the regular season with a 19-3 record. Perry won the Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division with an 18-4 record.
“To come out on the road and battle against an 18-win team, a league championship team like Perry was a great way to end the regular season,” Force said. “We knew how well-coached they are and we expected them to battle us early on like they did. Once we were able to get some more ball and player movement on the offensive end and we strung together a few stops in a row in that second half, it just seemed like we grabbed that momentum and they couldn’t get it back.”
North heads into the postseason riding an eight-game winning streak and has held three straight opponents to under 30 points.
North 52, Perry 29
North: T Valaitis 3 , Arnold 9, Lyons 6 , Leo 17, Pirosko 15
Perry (18-4, 13-1): Holroyd 4 , Mad. Hacking 5 ,Sorine 4 , Infalvi 7, Dolan 9
North 12 8 18 14 — 52
Perry 7 6 13 3 — 29
Free throws: North 7 of 8, Perry 2 of 4; 3-pointers: North 7 (Arnold 3, Leo 3), Perry 5 (Dolan, Infalvi, Hacking); Rebounds: Perry 23, North 25 (Pirosko 8); Assists: Perry 7, North 13 (Leo 3)