by Gary Andrews
For three quarters Saturday the Northfield Lady Norse basketball team dominated Oak Hill, leading by 19 points after three quarters, before running into major foul trouble and having to hang on for a 63-59 win to open their season.
Payton Thomson got the scoring started with a free throw, followed by a Katie Stephan three and Northfield led 4-0. The Norse would build their lead to 9-4 with a bucket from Arie Kennedy and a Thomson three before the Eagles got it back to 10-8. Sidney Reed would then hit two free throws that were answered by an Oak Hill bucket to make it 12-11 before buckets from Kylie Echard and Stephan gave Northfield a 16-11 lead after one.
Northfield would increase their lead to start the second quarter with two Reed free throws and a three pointer from Cherish Leming to go up 21-12. Oak Hill would chip away at the free throw line, hitting four in a row to close the gap to 23-18 before Thomson would connect from behind the arch again. Kylie Echard would sandwich a bucket between two Cherish Leming buckets as the Norse built their lead to 32-18. Three more Eagle free throws made it 32-23 at the half.
Payton Thomson would drain her third three of the game to start the third quarter, but again Oak Hill free throws kept them close and it was 38-27 when the Norse would get on a roll. Getting in to some foul trouble the Norse would go to their bench, with Abby Keaffaber coming up big. Keaffaber would connect on a three pointer which would be just one of three she hit in the quarter as the Norse built their lead to 53-34 by the end of the quarter.
Oak Hill would start the scoring in the fourth with three straight free throws that Arie Kennedy answered. Kennedy was fouled on a three point shot, hitting all three free throws to make it 55-40. During the next three minutes the Norse foul trouble would begin to haunt them, with four players having four fouls with 3:16 to play. During that span Oak Hill would connect on six free throws to close the gap to 60-50 with 2:07 left. With Northfield continuing to foul, Oak Hill would hit three more free throws and it was 60-54 with 1:01 remaining as the Norse had five players with four fouls. The Eagles would cut the lead to 60-56 and foul with Katie Stephan hitting one of two free throws to make it 61-56. Oak Hill would then turn the ball over, fouling Thomson with 33.7 left, with Payton hitting one to make it 62-56. Oak Hill would hit to make it 62-58 when Arie Kennedy was called for her fifth, with the Eagles making one to make it 62-59. Again Oak Hill would foul Katie Stephan, with Stephan hitting one to make it 63-59 as the Norse would escape with the win.
The Norse used a balanced scoring attack led by Payton Thomson and Cherish Leming with 11 points each. Kylie Echard, Katie Stephan and Abby Keaffaber had 9 points each. Arie Kennedy added 8 and Sidney Reed 6.
The junior varsity fell to Oak Hill 32-18.
Abby Keaffaber led with 6 points. Jacklyn Peas added 5, Jordan Bratch 4, Maddy Dale 2, Sarah Driscoll 1.