Jets pick up first win of the season over Rockets
RAPID RIVER — The North Central girls gained the upper hand in the first quarter, then cruised to a 61-36 basketball triumph over the Rapid River Rockets here Thursday night.
North Central led 16-10 after the first eight minutes of this Skyline Central Conference contest and extended its lead to 31-17 by halftime.
Rapid River was within 18-13 following a 20-foot set shot by junior Aiyana Semear 54 seconds into the second stanza.
The Jets answered with an 11-2 run, gaining a 29-15 advantage on a four-foot jump shot by sophomore Gracie Kleikamp late in the second.
“We’re a work in progress,” said Jets’ coach Dave Florenski. “We’re real proud of our defense. We brought up some freshmen for this game, but with just six varsity girls we can’t play full-court pressure defense. We have to set up in a half-court zone or man-to-man.”
The Jets (1-1 overall and league) led by as much as 47-22 in the third frame and extended their lead to 57-27 on a putback by senior Shea LaCoursier midway through the fourth.
Rapid River (0-2 overall, 0-1 SCC) trailed 16-10 after the opening frame but got no closer than five points through the remainder of the contest.
The teams combined for 59 turnovers, including 34 by the Rockets.
“Turnovers are the root of all evil,” said Rockets’ coach Scott Goodacre. “There’s no way you’re going to win with that many. We’re struggling with passing the ball. You have to make good decisions with the ball. If you don’t do that, you’re going to turn the ball over.”
Kleikamp and LaCoursier, doing most of her scoring on putbacks, finished with 16 points apiece. LaBonte added 13.
“We told Shea we needed at least 10 points and 10 rebounds from her in every game and bringing a six-footer (junior Carley Naser) off the bench is very beneficial,” said Florenski. “Gracie and Zoe (LaBonte) bring a lot of energy to the floor, and Sam Burton and Ashtyn Smith don’t back down.”
Semear scored a career-high 13 points, and junior Megan Dausey added 12 for the Rockets, who hit 15-of-49 field goals and collected 16 steals.
“We played some good defense,” said Goodacre. “We got 16 steals, so there was a lot of good work out there. Aiyana really came on for us, and Megan did a nice job tonight.”
Rapid River travels to Norway Tuesday. North Central is idle until Sept. 14 when it hosts Stephenson.
North Central 16 15 16 14 — 61
Rapid River 10 7 8 11 — 36
North Central — Burton 8, Kleikamp 16, Smith 2, LaBonte 13, Naser 6, LaCoursier 16. FT: 6-10; F: 15; Fouled out: None; 3-point field goals: Kleikamp 2, LaBonte 2, Burton.
Rapid River — Nelson 5, Semear 13, Thibault 4, Dausey 12, McCarty 2. FT: 5-14; F: 14; Fouled out: None; 3-point field goal: Semear.