The North Decatur girls basketball team closed out the first half of the regular season with a 54-31 win over visiting Switzerland County Saturday.
The Lady Chargers, winners of four of their past five, improve to 7-3 after the win over a potential sectional opponent.
The Chargers built a 14-9 first-quarter lead and went into halftime ahead 22-16. Senior Anna Wallpe set the tone early with 12 points in the first eight minutes. Head coach Brad Bryant said he was pleased to see North establish the inside game early.
“We talked about this, and the difference coming in was, we were a lot bigger and stronger,” he said. “We did a really good job of making the effort to get the ball inside.”
Senior Ali Wallpe started the third quarter by converting a 3-point play, but the Pacers (4-5) lingered until late in the third quarter. The visitors pulled to within five, but freshman Chelsea Hitchcock started a 14-6 run with a layup. Despite the temporary absence of a senior, Hitchcock came off the bench and impressed North’s coaching staff. She finished with four points, marking the third straight game she has scored. Despite coming up short from 3-point range, Hitchcock did not hesitate to release shots.
“She got looks,” said Bryant. “Once she settled down, she just looked confident out there. That helps us down the road come tournament time, Chelsea getting minutes.”
Highlighting the third quarter was a triple by sophomore Mary Hughes, a basket by junior Laura Haunert, and four straight points from Anna Wallpe.
Coming off the bench, senior Myra Steele helped the offense stay in rhythm. Hughes took a pass from Steele and hit another triple that put North up by 15, 44-29, with 5:15 left. North scored the next six points and 15 of the last 17 in the game.
Hughes matched a career-high in scoring with 12. She has averaged more than eight points in her last three games, with multiple triples.