- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The Northern girls basketball team did just about everything that you need to do to win in Monday night’s Class 3A South Region quarterfinal versus fifth-seeded La Plata.
The fourth-seeded Patriots forced numerous turnovers, got easy transition points, rebounded and showed off their three-point shooting en route to a 69-48 victory.
Northern (15-8 overall) earned its 15th win of the season, a feat that the girls program haven’t reached in a long time, according to head coach Brad Kingsbury.
“The girls have been doing a nice job this year,” Kingsbury said. “This is the most wins that we’ve had since I’ve been with the program.”
Northern will travel to top-seeded Friendly of Prince George’s County tonight for a semifinal rematch, falling last season, 56-49.
The time of tonight’s contest is 7 p.m.
Friendly defeated ninth-seeded Thomas Stone 61-24 in another Monday quarterfinal.
Northern opened up an early 9-0 lead in the first two minutes and went up 23-12 at the end of the first quarter. The Patriots stretched their lead to 38-20 by halftime and exploded for a 23-point third quarter to take a 61-36 lead after three quarters and put the game out of reach.
“I had faith in the team, I knew that if we didn’t lose focus and just played basketball, we would be fine,” said Northern senior guard Naaila Cooke, who finished with a game-high 19 points, 13 coming in the first half. “It’s hard to beat a team three times, but we played with confidence and got the win.”
Cooke, who showed her outside shooting and dribble drives in the lane, mentioned that the Friendly game will be another tough test in the postseason.
“We have to be ready to play,” Cooke said. “We’ve lost to them in the playoffs the last two seasons, so we have to go up there and match their intensity.”
The freshmen duo of Natalie LaPlaca and Mykaela Bailey scored 15 and nine points, respectively, with LaPlaca hitting three of Northern’s four three-pointers on the night.
“Natalie and Mykaela are not playing like freshmen at all, they have adapted to the varsity level quickly,” Kingsbury added. “And Naaila is just a tough cover once she gets going.”
La Plata (6-16) was led by seniors Paige DeMent and Lilly Clark, each boasting 14 points apiece. Clark hit all four of the Warriors threes on the night.
Senior Briana Jenkins added nine points in the losing effort.
The closest that La Plata came in the contest was when it trailed 14-9 at the 4:09 mark of the first quarter and 25-17 early in the second.