Every relentless fighter gets up after being knocked down.
Last week Port Huron Northern’s girls basketball team took an 18-point loss to Grosse Pointe South in its MAC Red opener. The Huskies iced their bruises and learned their lessons, and they got back on track with an all-around great performance in a 57-43 win over Grosse Pointe North.
“After a loss we really come together and focus on what we need to do,” senior Riley Fealko said.
The Huskies (1-1, 7-2) were paced by Fealko’s full court effort that saw timely defensive plays and 17 points. Senior Becca Richards also had 12 points on the night, including a 5-of-8 clip from the free throw line.
If it wasn’t for Grosse Pointe North junior Erin Armbruster, the game could have gotten alarmingly out of hand. She ended her night with 26 points, making up well more than half of the Norsemen’s offensive production.
The only dark spot of the game for Northern was its production at the line. The Huskies were impressive in getting 24 free throw attempts, but that joy was watered down by only making 10 of those freebies.
When the final note of the national anthem faded out, Northern head coach Mark Dickinson had one message for his team.
“Big first quarter, big first quarter,” he said with determination, clapping his hands.
The Huskies got the message, forcing five turnovers and having five players score to help themselves to a 16-8 lead after the first quarter. The gap was widened when Huskies sophomore Jenna Koppinger drained a 3-pointer with a minute on the clock, giving Northern a 15-8 lead.
Koppinger played years above her sophomore status, scoring eight points and coming up with a handful of defensive stops.
The second quarter wasn’t all about the Huskies. The Norsemen opened up with a scoring frenzy, taking a 10-1 run to grab a 18-17 lead. That run was snapped when Koppinger scored a layup with slight contact and hit a 3-pointer on the following possession, handing a 22-18 lead back to Northern.
The cushion was fluffed when Northern sophomore Kendyl Keyes scooped up a rebound off a missed free throw by senior Becca Richards. Keyes found Fealko camping on the right baseline, turning an open shot into a made 3-pointer and a 26-18 lead.
The Huskies trotted into halftime with a 30-25 lead.
Keyes got the second half started on a sweet note for Northern, hitting a 3-pointer right out of the gate. She also stole the ball seconds later and found Fealko for an easy fast break layup to extend the lead to 35-25.
The game got snug at 41-36 with less than a minute remaining, but the Norsemen had a game-changing blunder — they had six people on the court. The technical foul was called, Richards made her two free throws and Fealko made a layup on the next possession. Just like that, Northern’s lead grew to 45-36 to end the third quarter.
Just like all the other quarters, the fourth quarter started off hot for Northern. Back-to-back layups by sophomore Bree Bauer let the gym know the Huskies weren’t going to fade away, taking a 49-36 lead. Bauer’s night concluded with eight points.
The Huskies didn’t let Grosse Pointe North get close to touching their lead, dealing the Norsemen a loss in their first MAC Red game.
Contact Matt Sheehan at (810)-989-6267 or email@example.com.