The Nordonia High School girls basketball team has performed well during the second half of the season, but the Lady Knights dropped a pair of games against tough Suburban League foes last week.
Nordonia fell to Tallmadge by the score of 41-34 at home Jan. 31. Then the Lady Knights sustained a 57-42 defeat at the hands of Highland on the road Feb. 2.
As a result of those two losses, Nordonia now sports an overall record of 7-13. The Lady Knights are also 3-9 within the league.
Nordonia led 9-8 at the end of the first quarter against Tallmadge, and the score was tied 20-20 at intermission. The Lady Blue Devils outscored the Lady Knights 8-6 during the third period to gain a two-point edge heading into the fourth frame.
The Lady Knights drew to within two points in the fourth quarter. However, that was as close as they could get, as Nordonia turned the ball over during the final minute and was forced to send the Lady Blue Devils to the free throw line.
Junior forward Morgan Mitchell led Nordonia, scoring nine points and grabbing eight rebounds. In addition, sophomore guard Meghan Reilly produced eight points and senior guard Nataly Ciocca knocked down a pair of three-pointers.
According to Nordonia head coach Mike Griffen, Reilly and freshman guard Katie Karalic did a great job defensively.
"Meghan and Katie held Tallmadge's best player, Kelsey Rice, to just 10 points," said Griffen. "They took her out of her game, and she wasn't able to facilitate as much as she usually does."
Nordonia led early in the Highland game, building a 13-10 advantage by the end of the first quarter. However, the Lady Hornets struck back in the second period, outscoring the Lady Knights 17-16 to grab a 27-19 lead at intermission.
Highland stretched its lead to 41-28 by the end of the third stanza. Nordonia continued to play hard, scoring 14 points during the fourth frame, but the Lady Hornets countered with 16 points to account for the game's final tally.
Reilly led the way offensively for Nordonia, pouring in 12 points, while Ciocca added eight points and sophomore guard Brandy Merritt and Karalic both scored six points.
In addition, Mitchell tallied four points and junior forward Brook Harter produced three points. Also cracking the scoring column for the Lady Knights were senior guard Aysa Shine (two points) and sophomore center Hannah Stroe (one point).
With the victory, Highland improved its record to 12-7.
The Division I district tournament draw was held this past Sunday at Akron Ellet High School.
As a result of the draw, Nordonia will play the winner of the Hudson-Warren Howland game Feb. 23.
Meanwhile, the Lady Knights have two games remaining in the regular season.
Nordonia will hold Senior Night Feb. 6 against league rival Revere. Then on Feb. 13, Nordonia is slated to visit conference counterpart Green.