MONON — Play remained somewhat stilted, but a 20-point third quarter was exactly what North White needed to finally break into the win column.
The Vikings used that frame to kickstart a big second half and defeat Caston, 50-29, Friday night in a game that featured nearly as many jump balls (15) and field goals made by the home team (17).
“Defensively, we got pressure, wore them down a little bit. We knocked some shots down, finally, too,” North White head coach Bryan Heimlich said. “That first half, we had some good looks early, right around the rim, even, that we didn’t convert. That snowballed and hurt us, and then you’re pressing a little bit, trying to force things.”
Added junior guard Olivia Allen: “We defended the ball a lot better, and we also hit a lot more shots during the second half.”
The Vikings scored 22 first-half points, but hit just a handful of shots and saw most of its scoring come from the free-throw line. North White (1-2) shot 17 for 49 (35 percent) from the field in the contest, and sank 11-of-20 foul shots (53 percent).
The home team pulled out to a quick 9-2 lead, but the advantage was just five (9-4) after the opening quarter and led 11-9 with 4 minutes, 40 seconds remaining in the opening 16 minutes. Much of that had to do with the misses, and the Comets (0-5) playing with a little more energy, according to Heimlich. Ten jump balls were also called in the first half, which prevented a lot of flow to the gameplay.
Asked if there was to be done to prevent the stacattoness of those 16 minutes, forward Caitlyn Conn offered, “Really don’t.” Allen felt the team rushed too much in the timeframe after pushing to the seven-point lead quickly, and Conn came back with another observation.
“Everybody calmed dow,” she said of the second-half improvement. “Took more time with the ball, looked to see ho was open more. That, and teamwork.”
Allen (14) and Conn (11) combined for half the Vikings’ scoring and provided a steady inside-outside presence as Caston often double- or triple-teamed Lynzi Heimlich when she was anywhere close to the basket, or even inside the 3-point arc. She scored 10 on 4-of-8 shooting, with two 3-pointers.
Conn added six rebounds, two assists and two steals. Allen grabbed five rebounds and three steals, and the team forced 12 steals.
“Cait Conn came in and really did a nice job tonight, especially on the boards,” Heimlich said. “She did what she it out there for — creating some extra possessions for us, being a defender. Liv, in the second half, did a lot better job of penetrating, just breaking down the defense a little more.”