Northmor outlasted Highland in a defensive struggle during a Friday night girls’ basketball game hosted by the Knights.

While Northmor led nearly the entire contest and outscored their guests in all four quarters, Highland was able to keep within striking distance during the 39-32 game.

“Our defense won the game,” said Knight coach Daryl Uhde. “Everyone plays hard. We’re a scrappy little team. I think that’s the way we have to win.”

Early in the game, Lydia Farley staked Northmor to an early lead, supplying nearly all the team’s offense in the first half. Two shots by Farley gave her team a 4-2 lead, but Highland responded with a three-pointer by Madison Cecil to grab the advantage.

That lead would only last 22 seconds, though, as Brooke Bennett and Farley closed the quarter with back-to-back shots to give the Knights an 8-5 lead after eight minutes.

Farley opened the second quarter with two more shots, boosting her team’s lead to a seven-point margin. Harlee Steck responded with a three-pointer for Highland, but the Knights got one of their own from Maddie Swihart. Farley would then draw a foul after snagging an offensive rebound and drain both her shots to put Northmor up 17-8.

Highland would exit the half with a little momentum, though, as Erica Sardinha connected from the field and then hit a pair of free throws to make it a five-point margin going into the locker room.

The Scot coaching staff felt their team simply made too many mistakes in the first half.

“Consistency is key for us,” said assistant coach Payton Woodruff. “Our first half was mediocre and in the second half, we were much better. We had 21 turnovers in the first half and six in the second and that makes a difference.”

Farley opened the third quarter with a steal which she converted into two points, but Sardinha responded with a three for the Scots. Northmor would go on a 6-1 run, with all their points scored by Swihart to put the Knights up 25-16, but Highland finished the period with basket and free throw from Sardinha to stay within six points.

Highland would get within four about midway through the fourth quarter. Trailing 30-22, they got a basket by Sardinha and a lay-up by Taylor Belcher off a steal. They would not be able to get any closer, though. Northmor got a three-pointer by Cristianna Boggs and then Farley parlayed a steal into two more with just over three minutes remaining.

While Highland got three-pointers from Belcher and Kenzie Fuller during that span, they would not be able to catch up to the Knights, who improved to 4-2 in the league and 5-5 overall. Entering Friday’s action, Cardington held a commanding lead in the Blue Division at 6-0, while the Knights and Scots were among four teams at 3-2.

“It was just a team win,” said Uhde. “We gutted it out. We played hard — we have to be one of the smallest teams in the lead. There are four or five teams who are pretty equal. For league purposes, this was a must-win for us.”

In the other locker room, the Scots are simply trying to regroup. After a 3-1 start to the season, the team has dropped seven straight with the last three all coming by single-digit margins.

“We don’t have strong ball-handlers as a team and sometimes it’s tough to get into position to score,” said Woodruff. “Our defense is good enough to keep us in striking distance, but we can’t make up for a mediocre half. We need four quarters. We give good quarters here and there, but consistency is key.”

Sardinha led the Scots with 12 points. For Northmor, Farley tallied a game-high 16, while Swihart hit three threes on her way to a 14-point performance.

Maddie Swihart puts up a jumper for Northmor in their Friday win over Highland. Swihart puts up a jumper for Northmor in their Friday win over Highland. Rob Hamilton | Morrow County Sentinel

Highland’s Taylor Belcher looks for two of her seven points against Northmor.’s Taylor Belcher looks for two of her seven points against Northmor. Rob Hamilton | Morrow County Sentinel

By Rob Hamilton

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Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS