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The first quarter was slow and steady.

Baskets were exchanged between the North Point Eagles and Chopticon Braves girls basketball teams throughout the first quarter of the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference contest on Wednesday night, but there was one problem: The Eagles wanted to speed the game up and get Chopticon in an up-tempo, fast-paced game.

North Point 52, Chopticon 24

North Point 13 18 15 6

Chopticon 7 5 8 4

North Point: Prather 16, Hodges 9, Mainor 9, Butler 6, Niravanh 5, Greenwood 3, Smith 2, Wigfall 2

Chopticon: Priest 10, Boyden 6, Jacobs 4, Herbert 2, Gross 1, Burns 1

Free throws: North Point 9-25 (Niravanh 2-3, Hodges 3-5); Chopticon 13-24 (Priest 4-8, Jacobs 4-6)

3-point goals: North Point 1 (Niravanh); Chopticon 1 (Priest)

And even if that was the game plan coming in for North Point and head coach Mike Serpone, and even if the Eagles could not get the game sped up until midway through the second quarter, the fact remains that they eventually did.

Using a smothering defense to force Chopticon into a speed-racer type of play, North Point was able to crank up the speed of play and win 52-24, its 10th straight victory to open the 2012-13 season,

“That was the game plan from the get-go,” Serpone admitted of the tempo. “It just didn’t start from the get-go.”

After a 13-8 first quarter in favor of the unblemished Eagles, North Point held Chopticon to zero field goals made in the second quarter and repeated the feat in the final period of play as well.

The defense and inside presence of junior Khaila Prather, who led the Eagles with a game-high 16 points, proved to be too much for the Braves team playing at home.

Despite the win and the adjustment of play, Prather admitted things still may need to improve.

“We were kind of out of it on offense and kind of out of it on defense,” Prather said, “but we are going to go back to the gym, get back into it and do what we do best, play defense.”

The slow start to the win was also noticed by Ebane Mainor, who scored nine points in the win.

“We started off playing their game,” Mainor said. “When we started trapping them, we made them play quicker and they played into our hands, played our game. We sped it up, got a few steals and picked up the [pace of] the game.”

The Eagles (10-0, 1-0 SMAC) were able to out score Chopticon 18-5 in the second quarter and 15-8 in the third to build enough cushion to earn the victory despite scoring six points in the fourth while holding Chopticon to four fourth-quarter points.

Mainor responded that while Chopticon may have offered a stiff SMAC test, she took the game to have a different meaning.

“I think it was more of a test for our team,” Mainor said. “We have to work together as a team. We’re not really looking at the opponents, we are looking at ourselves as we try to get better for the future. ... It was a test for us to work together and get better at our defense and then work together on the offensive end.”

Brianna Hodges also scored nine points for the Eagles in the win and Tasia Butler added six.

Chopticon (9-3, 1-1) was led in scoring by Ty Priest, who scored 10 points, the only Braves player in double digits.

Coming into Wednesday’s game, the Braves and head coach Joe Cook wanted to accomplish one thing other than winning.

“We just wanted to do all of the little things right and that was our goal tonight,” Cook said. “I think we played extremely hard. Our offense didn’t really work tonight because of the pressure and intensity, but I think overall, we wanted to battle and we battled.”

Ericka Boyden added six points for the Braves, who will aim to end a two-game losing streak at 6:30 tonight at La Plata.

North Point will visit Patuxent at 6:30 tonight in its second of five-straight road games.

jmccray@somdnews.com