Sunday, February 5, 2023

Rangers roll to win over Bulldogs

Four players scored in double figures and North’s defense was stingy in a 68-22 win over visiting Garfield Heights on Thursday.

The Rangers, who improved to 8-0 overall, have now held two straight opponents to 24 points or less.

“We talked about (communicating) on defense with a purpose,” said Val Arnold, who tied Allie Lako with a game-high 16 points. “Lately we have been communicating better and it's been helping us a lot. We also have been helping each other a lot better on defense.”

North recorded 15 steals and forced 24 Bulldog turnovers that led to 29 points.

With the Rangers keeping the Garfield Heights offense in check, North built a 22-2 first quarter lead and despite emptying the bench the Rangers increased that lead to 39-7 at halftime.

Arnold was a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor in Wednesday’s 59-24 win at Parma. She finished Thursday’s game 6 of 8 from the floor and 4 of 6 from behind the 3-point arc.

“I feel like my team is getting me open looks and great passes,” she said. “It’s a lot easier to get in a groove when my teammates open up the floor a lot for an open look.”

Lako, the only senior on North’s roster, also led the team with seven assists. She looked back on North’s 52-47 overtime win at Chardon on Dec. 21 as a turning point in the Rangers’ season.

“The win in overtime was really nice,” she said. “We were all into the game and it was a good team win, but we know we could play better, so we wanted to get after it for our next two games and show everyone how we could really play.”

Samantha Pirosko pitched in with 12 points and 10 rebounds and Destiny Leo also had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards. Caitlin Stuart finished with six points while Anaunda Lyons contributed with four points, four rebounds and a team-high four steals.

Sammi Valaitis and Taylor Valaitis each scored two points off the bench for the Rangers.

"We had good balance again on offense which speaks to the unselfishness on this team," said North coach Paul Force. "We need to keep making the right basketball play and be willing to give up a good shot for ourselves in order to get a great shot for one of our teammates – that stuff is fun to watch as a coach."

North opens the New Year with a key Western Reserve Conference game at Brush on Jan. 4.

"Two wins in two nights is nice, but for us it's done," Force said. "Next. Need to stay humble and hungry and shift our focus onto the next one." 

Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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