The Nordonia High School girls basketball team may have lost its regular-season finale, but the Lady Knights put up quite a fight against Suburban League rival Green.
The Lady Bulldogs edged visiting Nordonia by the score of 53-48 Feb. 13.
With the loss, Nordonia ended the regular campaign with an overall record of 7-15. The Lady Knights were also 3-11 in the Suburban League.
According to Nordonia head coach Mike Griffen, the Lady Knights' performance at the free throw line was a factor against Green.
"We played them tough, but we struggled to score points in the second quarter," said Griffen. "They went to full-court pressure, and we turned the ball over. We fought back in the third and fourth quarters and cut their lead to one point. Our free-throw shooting was our Achilles heel, though."
Nordonia made just 9-of-26 attempts at the foul line (35 percent).
Junior forward Morgan Mitchell led the way offensively for the Lady Knights, scoring 13 points and pulling down six rebounds. She was the only Nordonia player to reach double digits.
In addition, freshman guard Katie Karalic tallied nine points, sophomore center Hannah Stroe collected six rebounds and senior guard Aysa Shine dished out three assists.
Despite the fact that his squad had a losing record, Griffen was proud of the effort that the Lady Knights put forth during the 2012-13 regular season.
"We didn't have the record we envisioned, but the kids improved a lot," said Griffen. "In the second half of the season, we were in every single one of our Suburban League games. I'm very proud of the kids. They showed up and worked hard in practice every night."
The Division I district tournament draw was held recently at Akron Ellet High School.
As a result of the draw, Nordonia will play the winner of the Hudson-Warren Howland game Feb. 23 at 2:45 p.m.
According to Griffen, there's a good chance that the Lady Knights will square off against the second-seeded Lady Explorers.
If that's the case, Nordonia must contend with Hudson's full-court pressure defense.
"They're known for their full-court pressure and trapping defenses," said Griffen. "They love to get out in transition and run. We'll need to control the tempo, handle their pressure and eliminate our turnovers. If we can do that, we'll be competitive."