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After winning six of its first eight games to start the season, the Nordonia High School girls basketball team suffered a four-game losing streak recently.
"We probably just went through the toughest part of our schedule," said Nordonia head coach Julie Buckler. "We were tested quite a bit, and we saw a few things that we need to improve. That's our goal: to improve every day."
The Lady Knights competed in the Brunswick Holiday Tournament Dec. 29 and 30, at Brunswick High School. Nordonia battled Berea-Midpark on the first night, dropping a 59-46 decision to the Lady Titans.
Berea-Midpark bolted to a 17-8 lead by the end of the first quarter. After the second period of play, the Lady Titans carried a 27-19 advantage to the locker room at intermission.
The third stanza was an offensive explosion, as the teams combined for 45 points. However, Berea-Midpark accounted for 25 of those points to stretch its lead to 52-39 at the conclusion of the third quarter. Both squads scored seven points in the fourth frame to account for the final tally.
Sophomore guard Soleil Barnes was the only Nordonia player to reach double digits, tallying 12 points. Three players contributed nine points apiece: senior guard Sarah Turley, freshman guard Lizzie Imrie, and junior guard Sandra Spellman. Rounding out the scoring for the Lady Knights were freshman guard Dominque Evans with five points and junior guard Ariyaun Robinson with two markers.
Nordonia then clashed with Padua Franciscan in the consolation finals of the tournament Dec. 30. The Lady Bruins handed the Lady Knights a 53-46 defeat.
Nordonia kicked off the new year by traveling to Suburban League National Division foe Twinsburg Jan. 4. Despite a strong start, the Lady Knights sustained a 46-40 loss at the hands of the Lady Tigers.
Nordonia led 15-11 after the opening quarter, but the Lady Knights only managed five points during the second period. As a result, they trailed by two points (22-20) at intermission.
Nordonia came out strong in the third stanza, outscoring Twinsburg 13-7 during the quarter to retake a 33-29 lead. However, the Lady Tigers regained the momentum in the fourth period, embarking upon a 17-7 run that sealed the Lady Knights' fate.
Once again, Barnes was the only Nordonia player to reach double figures, this time scoring 16 points. In addition, Imrie tallied seven points and Turley and junior guard Lexi Maciejowski both accounted for six markers. Two other Lady Knights cracked the scoring column: Spellman with three points and Robinson with two points.
On Jan. 7, Nordonia welcomed division nemesis Wadsworth to town. The Lady Knights fell behind quickly in the first quarter and despite rallying, lost their fourth in a row by the score of 48-39.
Wadsworth led 18-6 after the first quarter and 25-21 at intermission. The Lady Grizzlies stretched their advantage to 35-27 by the end of the third stanza and then held off Nordonia in the final frame to cement their victory.
Barnes racked up 20 points for the Lady Knights, including three three-point shots, while Spellman had eight points and Turley hit two three-pointers for six points. Also scoring for Nordonia were Imrie (four points) and Maciejowski (one point).
According to Buckler, her team's recent stretch of opponents included quite a few teams that prefer a more physical style of play. "We played against teams with a lot more height that like to play a physical game," she said. "Your inexperience shows a little more when you play against those kinds of teams."
Nordonia now owns an overall record of 6-6. The Lady Knights are also 4-3 in the National Division of the Suburban League.
On Jan. 11, Nordonia hosted non-conference foe Bedford. On Jan. 14, the Lady Knights will welcome division rival Hudson to town.