NORTH RIDGEVILLE — North Ridgeville took a bit to get going offensively, but its defense did more than enough to take home a win Wednesday night.
The Rangers held Midview without a field goal in the first quarter, setting up themselves for a comfortable 41-31 victory in Southwestern Conference action.
The Rangers led from wire-to-wire, using their defense and great ball movement to control the game.
North Ridgeville improved to 9-8, 5-9 SWC, while the Middies fell to 6-10, 2-9.
“Give Midview a lot credit, they pushed us and have really improved as a team,” North Ridgeville coach Amy Esser said. “I thought we played with great defensive intensity and it wasn’t easy, but a win is a win.”
It was a total team effort on both ends.
North Ridgeville used a truly balanced attack on offense, as no player scored in double digits.
Numerous players, like Daylan Baker with six points in the second quarter, took turns shouldering the scoring burden. Leia Smith also had some big moments, scoring five straight points in the first half.
“I just try to control the game and make the right plays when I have the ball,” Smith said. “We want to play as hard as we can for 32 minutes every game.”
Her 3-pointer midway through the second quarter gave the Rangers a 20-5 lead, forcing a Midview timeout. Baker chipped in two steals and three rebounds in the second quarter as the Rangers held a 24-9 lead at halftime.
“It feels really good to know my teammates have so much faith and trust in me,” Baker said. “I just go out there every game and try to be an all-around player.”
The Middies did all they could to continue to fight throughout the game, but North Ridgeville always had an answer.
Midview shot the ball well in the third quarter and committed just one turnover yet was never able to get closer than a 10-point deficit.
Senior Kaeli Evins opened the third with a layup plus the foul and teammate Izzy Patarini made back-to-back twisting layups as the Middies opened the half 3-for-3 from the field. North Ridgeville responded with two baskets, quickly building its lead to 28-14.
Patarini had a huge second half, scoring 12 of her game-high 16 points while trying to bring back the Middies.
After scoring just nine points in the first half, Midview scored 11 in both the third and fourth quarters.
“I thought the girls settled down and got a lot more comfortable in the second half,” Midview coach Rob Overy said. “I was very proud of our girls for their defensive effort.”
North Ridgeville did a great job controlling the rebounding department, with three girls pulling down at least seven boards. Grace Lauren Milner led the way with a game-high 13, including five on the offensive end.
She also chipped in six points, while junior Hailey MacGregor had a team-high nine.
“Our girls are really buying into the system and it has shown in our play,” Esser said. “We have struggled in the paint, so this type of effort was nice to see.”
Neither team shot well from the free throw line. Midview converted just 11 of 19 free throws while North Ridgeville shot 10-for-20.
North Ridgeville 41, Midview 31
MIDVIEW (31): Autumn Vance 0-0-0, Kaeli Evins 2-5-9, Hailey Vettel 1-0-2, Izzy Patarini 6-3-16, Grace Milano 0-0-0, Natalie Maver 0-2-2, Maddie Huge 1-0-2 . Totals 10-10-31.
NORTH RIDGEVILLE (41): Ryan Elbert 0-0-0, Hailey MacGregor 4-0-9, Riley Richardson 1-0-2, Nina Vlach 2-1-5, Leia Smith 1-5-8, Daylan Baker 3-2-8, Lauren Milner 1-3-6, Bella Ramsey 1-0-3. Totals 13-11-41.
Midview 2 7 11 11 — 31
North Ridgeville 10 14 6 11 — 41
Three-point goals: Midview 1-10 (Patarini), North Ridgeville 4-13 (MacGregor, Smith, Milner, Ramsey). Free throws: Midview 10-20 (50 percent), North Ridgeville 11-19 (57 percent). Total fouls: Midview 19, North Ridgeville 18. Turnovers: Midview 10, North Ridgeville 10.
Junior varsity: North Ridgeville, 51-38.