Jerry Sigler has been around basketball for so long and has witnessed so much, that only something fairly remarkable could surprise him.
The play of his Northview girls in last night's 62-36 season opening win at Perrysburg might qualify as fairly remarkable. Perrysburg looked like many teams look on opening night, missing makeable shots and too often turning over possessions. Northview, oppositely, executed crisply and scored in a multitude of ways with a multitude of players.
Sigler didn't see it coming.
"No, not at all," the 34th-year coach said. "Our scrimmage schedule was pretty competitive and we faced some pretty good teams. We felt like we were ready but you never know on the first night."
It was Perrysburg's first Northern Lakes League loss in two seasons. The Yellow Jackets, 24-1 last year, were picked second behind Northview in the NLL preseason poll but must replace four starters and coach Mark Schrock, who resigned for personal reasons.
"They were definitely better than us tonight," said coach Todd Sims, who served under Schrock. "In the third quarter they shot the ball really well. We were down nine [points] at halftime, so the third quarter is when we'd like to make a run."
Northview blew open a 25-16 halftime lead with a pair of 3-pointers by sophomore Miriam Justinger and another by sophomore Skylar Rose to make the score 40-23. A third sophomore, J.J. Jessing added six points in the quarter, which ended with the Wildcats ahead 43-25. For the game, Northview converted 23 of 48 shots (48 percent).
"I didn't think it would be anything like it was tonight," Sigler said. "The sophomores really came in and did a tremendous job."
Rose hit three 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 13 points, while Justinger tallied 12 and Jessing 11. Hannah Small added nine points and Katelynn McCoy poured in eight.
Five Wildcats outscored team leader Olivia Fouty, who averaged 15.7 points a year ago but was held to seven last night.
"We knew that Olivia was going to get triple teamed, and we had to help her out," Jessing said. "We had to get open and take shots."
Sigler hopes this shared wealth is a trend because he doesn't believe his team is at its best when Fouty doesn't have teammates who chip in. "We preached to the kids all week long that if we could get scoring out of other people we thought we could beat them," Sigler said.
Sophomore Kelsea Newman connected on both of Perrysburg's 3-pointers and led the team with 10 points. Senior center Erin Mesker and freshman forward Nicole Delas added eight points apiece.
Much because of seven turnovers, the Yellow Jackets trailed 10-4 entering the second period. Their play progressively got cleaner as they committed just three turnovers the rest of the way. But the Wildcats were too strong, punching it inside with their posts and knocking down jumpers from everywhere else, including six of 11 attempts from beyond the arc.
"You would like to think with their size, [outside shooting] would be one of their weaknesses," Sims said. "Obviously it wasn't one of their weaknesses tonight, and I don't think it will be."
Sigler said junior Valerie Sohasky, who did not return after injuring her ankle in the first quarter, is fine but he does not know when she will return.
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