Notre Dame's Jayda Worthy goes to the net against Northview's Kendall McCoy (40). Worthy led the Eagles with 19 points.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
Turn out the lights, close the door, and thanks for coming.
That is about the extent of the message Notre Dame sent to underdog Northview in the opening quarter of Saturday’s Division I girls district basketball final at Perrysburg.
Bolstered by 10-for-14 shooting over the first eight minutes, the Eagles promptly dropped a game-breaking 23-4 surge on Northview, then cruised to a 55-32 victory to advance to their second straight regional.
“We did a very good job of execution in almost every possession of the first quarter, at both ends of the floor,” Eagles coach Travis Galloway said. “We did a good job of finding [Northview’s Kendall] McCoy defensively, and we did a great job of rebounding the first miss.
“Offensively, we were patient, we screened well, and we had great ball movement. As a group, they understood where to get the ball. Everything was in a rhythm.”
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Notre Dame (23-3) — repeat champion of the Three Rivers Athletic Conference, and a 2012 state semifinalist — will have a rematch with eighth-ranked Northern Lakes League champion Perrysburg (23-1) in a regional semifinal Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Central Catholic’s Sullivan Center.
The Eagles beat Perrysburg 44-28 in last year’s regional semifinal at Central and also edged the visiting Yellow Jackets 40-38 on Jan. 26 of this season, Perrysburg’s only two losses in its last 25 games.
Saturday, Notre Dame was led by 5-foot-10 junior forward Jayda Worthy (19 points), the only returning starter from the Eagles’ 2012 state final-four team, and by 6-0 sophomore guard Tierra Floyd (18 points), whose varsity contributions last season were severely limited by injuries.
With a red-hot Floyd scoring 12 of her team’s first 19 points, and Worthy adding six in the first quarter, the Eagles played a nearly flawless opening period against a shell-shocked Wildcats squad.
“Our coach told us we had to come out with intensity and knock them out in the first quarter,” Floyd said. “That’s what we did. I felt like we had a lot of intensity, and we kept it throughout the whole game.
“It feels great. Last year was a motivator for me. I hope we can make it one game further than last year’s team.”
Notre Dame’s sharp play was evident from the outset, when 6-0 senior guard Christy Ohlinger (six points) nailed a 3-pointer on ND’s first shot of the game just 17 seconds in.
Up 8-4 after Northview’s McCoy (10 points) scored on a runner in the lane, Notre Dame closed the decisive period with a 15-0 run that basically buried the Wildcats’ chances.
“That was amazing,” Northview coach Jerry Sigler said of Notre Dame’s fast start. “I don’t know what [Galloway] fed them, but they were unbelieveable. We hadn’t seen Floyd shoot that well on the perimeter all year.
“The credit goes to them. They took us right out of things after that first-quarter run. It was hard for us to get back in the flow of things because they play such good defense. They really play well together.”
The Eagles led 33-15 at halftime and pushed their lead to 24 points (48-24) after three quarters.
Northview (12-11) and its five sophomore starters had upset Whitmer and Central Catholic in the sectional finals and district semifinals, respectively, to get here, a surprising tourney run that forced Sigler, in his 38th year, to pay off on a challenge.
Reaching the district final meant Sigler had to shave his head, something he promised to do and gladly complied with after the win.
But, with Notre Dame hitting on all cylinders Saturday, Northview’s Cinderella tourney run ended with a flat tire.
The Eagles’ biggest first-half lead was 25 points (33-8) three minutes and 26 seconds before the break — that after Worthy had delivered a driving layup, a three-point play, and another driving bucket in succession.
“In our previous [tourney] games we had slow starts, so we knew we had to come out and execute today,” Worthy said. “We knew they were on a tournament roll, so we wanted to play hard and knock them out [of contention] in the first quarter.
“That was our best quarter all year. We executed, we played team ball, and we had tremendous effort.”
The Wildcats, who were led in scoring by 6-1 sophomore Maddie Cole’s 12 points, were 14-of-34 (41 percent) from the field, were outrebounded by the Eagles 24-18, and committed 13 turnovers.
Notre Dame was 23-of-44 (52 percent) from the field, including 5-of-11 on 3-pointers. Kaayla McIntyre, a 6-0 sophomore forward, had nine rebounds.
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