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NC ladies fall to Norway



North Central freshman Lila Kleikamp (30) attempts to drive past Norway’s Paytan Carlson (23) on Thursday at Norway High School.

NORWAY — It was the battle of the losing streaks on Thursday as the Norway girls varsity basketball team welcomed North Central to Norway High School for a Skyline Central Conference matchup.

The Jets (0-7, 0-1) entered the day looking for their first win of the season, losers of six-consecutive games. While the Knights (3-6, 1-2) were looking to end a five-game skid.

It was Norway’s night as it rolled to a 68-37 victory.

“We just needed a win,” Knights coach Brian Adams said. “There’s a lot of things I’m still not crazy about with us. We will continue to work on those things, but after losing five in a row, the girls needed to feel what it’s like to win again.”

Despite the lopsided final score, the Jets held their own early in the game.

“Obviously, the turnovers in the first half killed us,” North Central coach Brooke Granquist said. “However, offensively, I think we played a really good first half. (It was) probably the best first half I’ve seen them play so far.

“Overall, yes we lost but there were a lot of positives. They hustled the whole time. We rebounded well and I think that they handled the adversity of coming to a gym, that is more of a high-stakes environment and bringing more intensity.”

With an eighth grader starting on varsity, Granquist knows that the future of North Central girls basketball will be bright.

“Even from last year to this year, you can tell that there is a new sense of determination and a ‘don’t give up’ attitude,” Granquist said. “I think that moving forward, even if it’s not this season, we’re going to have forward momentum.”

The Jets held the momentum from the opening tip as senior guard Gracie Kleikamp caught fire and scored seven quick points to put them ahead 9-2 in the first.

However, Norway turned up the defensive intensity. As a result, sophomore Lauren Adams scored six points and junior Mary Cavagnetto had two more giving the Knights a 10-9 lead.

North Central tried to keep things close, but a technical foul for a book error sent Adams to the free throw line.

“I didn’t have a girl in the book and that was my fault for not double-checking,” Granquist said.

She sank both and Norway took off.

By the end of the first quarter, Adams had 13 points and the Knights led 21-11.

A three and a layup by sophomore Ashley Carlson extended Norway’s advantage to 19 points. But instead of giving up, the Jets kept shooting and eventually their shots dropped.

Kleikamp had five points in the second quarter and North Central headed to the locker room behind 38-22.

Adams had 20 points in the first half.

“How did we do each quarter compared to our opponent?” Granquist said. “There’s been a lot of games so far where we’ve won three quarters. We need to figure out some kind of way to come out of the locker room a little bit hotter because that third quarter, the last few games, has been the downfall.”

It was a similar situation for the Jets as their shots continued to rattle out. The Knights took advantage of the lapse from North Central and breezed to a 31 point victory capped by a 3-pointer for sophomore Ella Wojtowicz.

“While it is nice for these games to be closer, the bigger thing is districts,” Granquist said. “So we’re taking those little things now so that when we get closer to the end of the season, they’ll be better prepared.”

Gracie Kleikamp (22 points), Addison Otradovec (4 points), Dalyn Otradovec (9 points) and Lila Kleikamp (2 points) all contributed to North Central’s offensive efforts.

The Jets’ next game is on Friday as they head to Crystal Falls to face Forest Park.

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