BONNE TERRE – A lack of execution, rather than patience, was the culprit on Monday evening as the young North County girls basketball team stumbled through a ragged first quarter.
But in a contest where both teams shared the similar defensive objective of denying entry passes into talented post players, the Lady Raiders received a timely boost from other sources.
Junior guard Alyssa Huber scored a game-high 17 points, and made four steals as North County topped visiting Grandview 45-34 to avenge an unsightly loss from last season.
Kayleigh Winch totaled 15 points and nine rebounds in the victory despite being routinely surrounded near the basket during the early action.
She would sit for the last 5:56 of the third quarter after picking up a third foul, but North County (4-2) managed to protect and even increase its six-point advantage during that stint.
Julia Christopher immediately answered a Grandview 3-pointer midway through the period, and Huber finished a determined drive with a layup to restore a 30-21 lead.
Winch returned to open the fourth quarter with a putback. She then wrestled a defensive rebound away before banking an 8-footer off an entry pass from Christopher with 4:56 to play.
The Lady Eagles had drawn to within 32-28 after Kaylyn Sparks drilled a 3-pointer and converted two North County turnovers into transition layups.
Huber put the outcome away at 41-30 – the largest separation of the night – by aggressively hitting a fast-break layup with 1:13 to play after swiping a pass near the midcourt stripe.
Macy Ketcherside recorded team highs with eight points and nine rebounds for Grandview (5-2), which did not trail in the first 10 minutes of the contest.
But the dangerous center was held scoreless in the second half by a committee that included forwards Michaela Mason and Tiffani Thomas off the North County bench.
Both teams struggled mightily to find an offensive rhythm early on. North County started 1-of-12 from the field with eight turnovers during that stretch.
Grandview ended its first four possessions with turnovers – including three on errant passes that drifted out of bounds – and attempted its first shot after watching its opponents take six.
The Lady Eagles were first to score over a crowded zone as Meaghan Faust knocked down a couple of mid-range jumpers, and closed the first quarter with a 9-2 lead.
Huber finally loosened the Grandview defense with a nifty spin move and conventional three-point play. Christopher then struck from long range, and Winch created a 10-10 tie on a second-chance shot.
Stephanie Peterson put North County in front 16-15 with a baseline layup, and Ella Gant found Huber breaking ahead for a layup and 20-17 halftime edge after saving a steal along the sideline.
Mason grabbed eight rebounds and Christopher had six points for the Lady Raiders.