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With the postseason looming on the horizon, the Nordonia High School girls basketball team appears to be peaking.
The Lady Knights beat two opponents last week.
First, they knocked off non-conference opponent Garfield Heights by the score of 55-39 at home Jan. 16. Then, they defeated Suburban League foe Copley by a 50-41 margin on the road Jan. 19.
"Both of the teams we played were good teams," said Nordonia head coach Mike Griffen. "But we were able to put some pressure on them and knock down some big shots when we needed to."
Nordonia jumped on the Lady Bulldogs early, building a 13-4 lead by the end of the opening quarter. The Lady Knights led 27-20 at intermission.
Both squads scored nine points during the third stanza, and then Nordonia outscored Garfield 19-10 in the fourth frame to seal the victory.
Sophomore guard Meghan Reilly paced the Knights offensively with 18 points, while senior guard Nataly Ciocca poured in 15 points on the strength of four three-pointers.
Tallying six points apiece were freshman guard Katie Karalic and senior forward Allyson Carpenter.
A total of five Lady Knights added two points each. They were junior forward Morgan Mitchell, junior forward Brook Harter, sophomore guard Kayla Shine, freshman forward Raquel Pintz and sophomore center Hannah Stroe.
In the game against Copley, Nordonia was forced to come from behind.
That's because the Lady Indians led 28-25 at intermission. However, the Lady Knights outscored Copley 16-5 during the third quarter to seize a 41-33 lead at the outset of the fourth frame.
Nordonia then held the Lady Indians off in the fourth period to preserve the win.
Three Lady Knights reached double digits in scoring. Mitchell produced 18 points, Ciocca tallied 13 points and Reilly added 12 markers.
Others who cracked the scoring column for Nordonia included Carpenter (three points), Harter (two points), Stroe (one point) and sophomore guard Brandy Merritt (one point).
With that pair of victories, Nordonia's overall record now stands at 6-10. The Lady Knights are also 2-6 in league action.
According to Griffen, his team has consistently put forth a solid effort, despite the many ups and downs it's experienced this season.
"We still have a lot of room improvement, but the girls are playing relentless basketball," said Griffen. "They've never quit. It would be easy to phone it in, but they continue to put the effort in and it's starting to pay off."
The Lady Knights were set to face Cloverleaf Jan. 22 in a rare Tuesday night affair, but results weren't available at press time.
Nordonia faces a major challenge when its welcomes Wadsworth to town Jan. 26 at 2:30 p.m.
"The rest of our [regular-season] games are in the Suburban League," said Griffen. "They'll all be tough, hard-fought games."