The Grosse Pointe North girls’ basketball team earned a tough 45-40 win over Warren Regina last week.
It was the second straight Catholic League Central Division foe for the Norsemen.
This time, the home team nearly let a 16-point halftime lead disappear.
“No lead was safe because we expected a close game,” head coach Gary Bennett said. “We didn’t hold our composure very well. We rushed some shots and took some ill-advised shots.”
The Norsemen brought their ‘A’ game in the first half, bolting out to a 15-2 lead after the first quarter and it was 23-5 after sophomore Lucy Dodge hit a three-point basket midway through the second quarter.
The Saddlelites regrouped and ended the first half on an 11-5 run to help cut the deficit to 28-12, Norsemen.
The Norsemen did everything right in the first 16 minutes. They played great defense, created turnovers and shot the ball well from the field.
During the final 16 minutes, it was the complete opposite as the Saddlelites were able to get uncontested shots and their defensive pressure created the Norsemen to turn the ball over far too many times.
The once comfortable 16-point lead was cut to six, 34-28, after the third quarter and the Norsemen held just a four-point lead, 44-40, with two minutes left in the game.
The Saddlelites’ comeback was fueled by sophomore Teresa Diehl’s three-point shooting and the low-post scoring of senior Erin Nelson.
In addition, head coach Diane Laffey had her team double-team Norsemen senior Maria Liddane all over the court. It was tough for her to get an open shot, but Liddane managed to convert some clutch baskets down the stretch to prevent the defeat.
A Norsemen turnover allowed the Saddlelites the opportunity to trim the deficit to a point, but a three-point shot missed. However, North junior forward Megan Lesha was called for a foul going for the rebound.
Two missed free throws and a Nelson miss on the putback was enough to help the Norsemen preserve the win.
Sophomore Erin Armbruster grabbed the rebound and was fouled. She made one-of-two free throws to up the lead to 45-40 and that turned out to be the winning margin.
Armbruster had the best varsity game of her career, posting a double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds, while Liddane finished with 11 points, four assists and five rebounds.
Megan Lesha had seven points and senior Jayla Hubbard finished with six points and seven rebounds.
North ended the week with a 47-40 loss to host Plymouth, which improved to 4-0 with the victory and the Norsemen dropped to 2-2.
“They were much bigger than we were and they used that to their advantage,” Bennett said.
Armbruster had another double-double, collecting 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Hubbard had 13 points.