Basketball

Port Huron Northern makes statement in opener

There’s not much debate in who the area’s top girls basketball team is to tip off the season.

Port Huron Northern – who reached the Class A state finals last spring – comes into the season with a plenty of promise. Any doubt of that was erased quickly in Marysville’s gym as the Huskies rolled to a 74-29 win over the Vikings to kick off the season.

“We wanted to bring the energy,” Northern head coach Mark Dickinson said. “We got some younger kids we are trying to develop and we wanted to play them even faster than they’re used to playing.”

The Huskies defense wore down the Vikings in the second half, holding them to just six points in the third quarter and zero in the fourth. The Huskies also flexed their balance as 11 players scored, led by Jenna Koppinger and her 21 points. Kathleen O’Connor had 11 points, and Allie Sanderson scored eight for Northern as well.

“Marysville is a solid, solid team,” Dickinson said. “We do have some depth, we know we have some depth and we just got to keep working them in situations so they can keep growing.”

Marysville was led by Hannah Delor and her 13 points and Kiara Kelley had five.

Marysville, who have won five straight MAC titles, will be looking for a star to emerge on a team that is replacing a tough trio of talent to fill in for with the departures of Payton Husson, Devan Valko and Shannon Curley.

Northern came out how they ended last year – firing on all cylinders by jumping out to a 10-0 lead before Marysville took a timeout. The Huskies starting unit of Sami Klink, Kathleen O’Connor, Kendyl Keyes, Jenna Koppinger and Bree Bauer flexed how well-rounded they are, all scoring in the first quarter to take an 18-9 lead into the second quarter.

Marysville jumped out with a spurt of energy in the second quarter, closing the lead to 20-13 with two free throws by Lydia Sawdon. However, a 12-2 run by Northern capped with a 3-pointer, steal and layup within three seconds by O’Connor pushed the Huskies lead to 32-15.

The Huskies entered halftime with a 37-23 lead with Marysville’s Hannah Delor leading the game with 11 points.

The Huskies kept their foot on the gas to start the second half with Koppinger scoring 11 of 16 straight points to open up the lead to 53-23.

The fourth quarter didn’t get any easier for the Vikings as the Huskies held them scoreless to end the night.

Port Huron Northern's Kathleen O'Connor gets ahead of Marysville's Lydia Sawdon during a basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 at Marysville High School.

Port Huron Northern’s Kathleen O’Connor gets ahead of Marysville’s Lydia Sawdon during a basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 at Marysville High School.

Port Huron Northern's Sami Klink gets past Marysville's Gabby Fogarty during a basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 at Marysville High School.

Port Huron Northern’s Sami Klink gets past Marysville’s Gabby Fogarty during a basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 at Marysville High School.

Port Huron Northern's Jenna Koppinger takes a shot during a basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 at Marysville High School.

Port Huron Northern’s Jenna Koppinger takes a shot during a basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 at Marysville High School.

Port Huron Northern's Jenna Koppinger takes a shot during a basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 at Marysville High School.

Port Huron Northern’s Jenna Koppinger takes a shot during a basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 at Marysville High School.

Port Huron Northern's Kendyl Keyes takes a shot during a basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 at Marysville High School.

Port Huron Northern’s Kendyl Keyes takes a shot during a basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 at Marysville High School.

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