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Lincoln-Way North had everything working right from the start Wednesday night against Plainfield South in the first round of the Medieval Classic.
Guards Leigh Larocco and Sam Pietruszynski helped force 10 first-quarter turnovers and Valen Manns contributed off the bench as host North extended a 20-3 first-quarter lead into a 32-3 halftime advantage en route to a 51-16 win.
“Our defense has been the constant throughout the year,’’ North coach Jim Nair said. “We’ve been able to play good team defense to get the intensity up.’’
Larocco and Pietruszynski each scored seven points in the first quarter, mostly off steals and drives to the basket.
“Usually we come out a little slow, but (Wednesday) we started off really quickly, which is good,’’ Larocco said.
“Leigh’s defensive ball pressure has been outstanding for us,’’ Nair said. “She’s really a team leader and been handling the basketball and getting us into our offense much better this year.’’
North (12-1) was led by Pietruszynski and Manns with 12 points apiece. Larocco, Ashley Weringa and Amy Vos each had seven points and Elise Lampley contributed nine rebounds.
“We’ve had a little bit of time off and it was a good game for us to get back into it and work through some kinks,’’ Nair said. “Offensively, it wasn’t our most fluid game. We got to see a lot of different girls in different roles, so that’s good for us to see.’’
North plays Lincoln Park on Thursday and Lincoln-Way Central on Friday.
“We’re excited for this tournament,’’ said Larocco, a four-year starter. “We always go to the championship game and lose it. This year we want to keep going strong the whole way.’’
Jacqui Eubanks led Plainfield South (2-11) with six points and Alex Tarrant had nine rebounds. The Cougars face Lincoln-Way Central on Thursday.
Lincoln-Way Central 60, Lincoln Park 15: Candace Finnin (15 points) and Autumn Schultz (10) led Lincoln-Way Central.
Andrew 53, Lincoln-Way West 52: Molly Franson’s free throw with three-tenths of a second left lifted Andrew (8-2) to the win. Franson finished with 17 points and Tiana Karopulos had 24. Lindsey Colamussi (15 points) and Stephanie McDonald (13) paced West (5-6).
Lincoln-Way East 60, Noble Street Charter-UIC 34: Kara Krolicki (11 points) and Meaghan McMahon (9 points) paced a balanced attack for Lincoln-Way East (9-1).