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North girls learn to overcome adversity

December 6, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

In what has been a learning experience for the North Fort Myers High School basketball team, the girls perhaps learned the best lesson of all: how to come from behind a steal one.

Trailing by five in the fourth quarter of a defensive struggle, the Red Knights came back, with Ali Mousa draining a short jumper with 1:09 remaining to give the Red Knights a 34-33 victory over Port Charlotte for their first win of the season after four straight losses.

Port Charlotte (0-5, 0-1) built up a 26-21 lead after three quarters following consecutive threes from Emily Larson and Ashlyn Henderson and seemed ready to break the game open.

Article Photos

North Fort Myers High School girls basketball player Taylor Mera brings the ball downcourt during a game Friday against Port Charlotte.

However, Mousa, who hadn't scored up to that point, hit a pair of shots along with one from Taylor Mera to give North (1-4, 1-2) a 27-26 lead with 5:20 left.

From there, the game see-sawed, with a Henderson jumper giving Port Charlotte a 33-32 lead with 1:28 left, setting up Mousa's heroics.

It was a thorough team effort, with no Red Knights reaching double figures in scoring. Mera and Julia Quinones led North with eight points. Mousa scored all six of her points in the fourth quarter as North overcame a 9-for-22 performance at the line.

"We could have let them have the game, but we fought hard and came out with the win," said North Fort Myers coach Stephanie Rael. "We make mistakes because of our youth, but we don't give up. We're getting better each game and I think we'll be a real threat toward the end of the year."

North girls hoops was once an area power, but for the last few years has been trying to rebuild the program from the ground up.

North lost a one-point game to Marco Island Academy and three others in blowout fashion. It usually takes a win like this to get the wheels moving on the up escalator.

"It was really stressful because you have to hold on defense. We did that and I'm rally proud of that," Mousa said. "We were a little confused offensively in the first three quarters, but we were only down by a few points and we knew we could do it and we did it, and that's all that matters."

"We needed to come out and play strong defense and make smart passes and not rush on offense," Mera said. "We switched to a man defense late so we could really stay on them and to help each other out if our man beat us."



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