It was home sweet home for North Douglas on Friday night.
After falling on the road to Elkton two weeks ago, the Warriors beat the Elks at home 56-41 to stay in the race for first place in league play.
The two teams are locked in a three-team race for first place in the Skyline Division with Days Creek. The Warriors will play the Wolves in a pivotal league game on Friday.
“You know all the kids did a good job tonight, we’ve grown so much in two weeks. Mentally, there were things that happened tonight that I think two weeks ago would just consume us,” said North Douglas head coach Jeff Davis.
Before the game began, the Elks received words that starting senior guard Allison Swearingen tore her ACL and will be out for the rest of the season. Swearingen joined sophomore Aspyn Luzier (fractured growth plate) as the second Elkton starter to be sidelined with an injury.
“It was an adjustment. A couple girls had to play positions they don’t normally play so I told them we’ll work on that,” said Elkton head coach Rob Parker. “You know, they were upset. They let some easy baskets go and stuff, but I told them we’ll work on them in practice and take care of it. We’ll be fine.”
In the first half, the game was close throughout. The Warriors never trailed and led by as many as four points.
For every North Douglas fast break point, often led by Nicki Derrick who finished with 17 points, it was Elkton finding an answer often in the form of a Hannah Maxwell jump shot. Maxwell finished with 14 for the Elks.
In the second half, the Warriors, a team predicated on their transition offense, slowed down as they worked their offense. The first offensive possession took 1:20 of game time.
“We still think we can do both, we haven’t quite figured that out, but we have enough foot speed that we can run down the floor and run an organized break and get some easy ones,” said Davis.
The game changed when with 5:16 left to play in the third quarter Maxwell picked up her fourth foul for the Elks and was pulled from the game.
Down two when Maxwell came out, the Elks stayed close and a Samantha McCall bucket got the lead to three when it looked like the Warriors were about to run away with it. But without their best player, the North Douglas attack was too much and a quick 8-0 run at the end of the quarter extended the lead to 11.
When Maxwell returned in the fourth, she scored the first time she touched the ball and the Elks were able to get the lead down to five. As the Elks were looking to get back into the game, Maxwell was called for her fifth foul as she was working to get in position under the basket.
“We played a lot of the game with four sophomores and a freshman and I thought they did quite well,” said Parker.
The Elks looked to foul late to force a free throw contest late but the Warriors were able to hit enough shots to extend their lead and finish with a victory. North Douglas was 14-of-31 from the line. Derrick led the team going seven-of-10.
Riley Black had 11 points and Rilie-Jo Olds added 10 for the Warriors.
North Douglas out-rebounded Elkton 37-14 in the game. Abby Whipple led the team with eight boards.