Northville girls’ basketball team’s defense stifles Saratoga Central Catholic

Basketball player gets the ball with her leg out

Northville’s Leah Valovic (25) catches her balance after saving the ball from going over the end line while under pressure from Saratoga Central Catholic’s Dani Villano during a Section II Class D quarterfinal game Wednesday at Northville High School.

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NORTHVILLE — A pressing first-half defense gave the Northville Falcons the advantage they needed against Saratoga Central Catholic in Wednesday’s Section II Class D qirls’ tournament quarterfinal game.

The third-seeded Falcons forced 20 first-half turnovers, which they used to breakaway to a 32-4 halftime lead en route to defeating the Saints 64-26.

With the victory, Northville advances to the semifinals and will play No. 2 Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons at noon Saturday at Averill Park High School.

“We wanted our energy to be up right from the get-go, and pressing is a part of that,” Northville coach Justin Frederick said. “I think it took a little time to get our offense going, but our defense never wavered.”

Even though the Northville press forced the Saints to turn the ball over on their first six possessions, the Falcons could not capitalize on the turnovers. Hannah Hoffman broke the scoring drought just over two minutes into the game with a layup in transition. Hailey Monroe added a second score in transition less than 30 seconds later to get the Falcons’ offense moving. Hoffman went on a scoring rampage in the final three minutes of the opening quarter, hitting three 3-pointers in her 13-point run to give Northville an 18-2 advantage at the end of the period.

Northville kept the pressure on in the second quarter, with Monroe doing the bulk of the scoring with eight points to help extend the Falcons lead to 32-4 at the break.

Frederick made the most of the Falcons’ advantage, working his reserves into the lineup to lock up the victory and advance to Saturday’s semifinal round.

“We tried to find ways for everybody to have the opportunity to be a part in this win,” he said. “We were feeling confident at halftime and talked about how we could keep this confidence going. Coaching is finding ways to bring the team together, and I thought the girls brought themselves together very well tonight.”

Monroe led the Falcons’ with 17 points, while Hoffman finished with 15 and Keira Mackey added 10 points. Northville connected for 11 3-pointers in the contest.

Addison Whitbeck connected for 16 points in the second half to finish with 18 points for Saratoga Central Catholic.

Northville will turn its attention to a solid Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons team it played tough before the Golden Knights rallied in the fourth quarter for a 48-37 victory earlier this season.

“I am expecting a tightly contested game, for sure,” Frederick said. “I think if our defense plays the way we need to play, we can hold anyone in check. The question is have we learned enough about them and how to guard them.”

Saratoga Catholic      2 2 6 16 — 26

Northville       18 14 18 14 — 64

Saratoga Central Catholic scoring: Whitbeck 7-4-18, Schaefer 1-0-2, Gill 0-1-1, Looby 1-0-3, Cornell 1-0-2. Northville scoring: Hoffman 5-2-15, Reidell 1-1-4, Armstrong 1-0-3, Mackey 4-0-10, Thompson 2-0-6, Monroe 7-3-17, Flickinger 2-2-8, Derstine 0-1-1. Team scoring totals: Saratoga Central Catholic 10-5-26, Northville 22-9-64.

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