But with Smith totaling only six points in Northview s 45-32 victory over the visiting Yellow Jackets, perhaps such a rap no longer exists for the Wildcats.
It was Niki McCoy, a 5-11 junior, who provided the major scoring punch for the undefeated Wildcats (9-0, 4-0 NLL) with a game-high 21 points while grabbing seven rebounds in a matchup between the teams expected to duel for the championship.
We prepared really well for this game, said McCoy, who also came through with a couple of steals and a couple of blocks to help stuff a solid statistical line. We worked really hard for a week and a half to get ready for this game.
Perrysburg (8-2, 3-1 NLL) came in believing a victory was quite reasonable. The Yellow Jackets grabbed the tempo early and kept the game from turning into a high-scoring, up-tempo contest, which is more the Wildcats speed.
Perrysburg's Sara Hughes, left, and Northview's Erin Wade fight for the basketball. Neither player scored.
Morrison / Blade photo Enlarge
Only two players scored for Perrysburg. Laura Markwood led with 17 points before leaving the game late in the fourth quarter with leg cramps.
Allison Vallas provided the remaining 15 points for a Yellow Jackets team that trailed by a point early in the final quarter.
We wanted to control the tempo and I thought we did that, said Perrysburg coach Mark Schrock. They got a couple of baskets down the stretch and that s all you need in a close game.
The Wildcats, leading 29-28, turned up the defense and came away with three straight steals to help trigger a 10-2 run midway through the fourth quarter to pull away. McCoy scored eight during the quarter in which the Wildcats outscored the Yellow Jackets 16-8.
Brooke Amstutz, who came through with a couple of steals, scored five of her seven points during the period. Nikki Cooper anchored the Wildcats defensive pressure, recording a team-leading seven steals while contributing five points.
Nonetheless, McCoy s play around the basket was significant in a game where the Indiana University-bound Smith accounted for only two points during the entire second half.
Niki McCoy is so athletic that she can really be hard to stop inside, Northview coach Jerry Sigler said. “When she wants to play and stays out of foul trouble she s tough.
Markwood, who is headed to Miami of Ohio in the fall, made the Wildcats frontcourt players work before she came up limping and ultimately left the game with just under four minutes remaining. She was nearly automatic whenever she was able to get the ball in position around the basket.
However, Julia Dempster and McCoy did make it a challenge for the Yellow Jackets guards to get the ball into Markwood s hands.
Schrock said losing Markwood late hurt, but isn t blaming her loss down the stretch for coming up short.
I m really proud of the girls, Schrock said. There s not one person on their team that you can t afford not to guard because they all can shoot.