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North girls can’t hold on at Canterbury

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Jan 13, 2021


Consistency is one of the most difficult things to find when you’re a young team, and when you don’t have a junior varsity program to learn to gain that consistency, it’s even harder.

That’s the conundrum facing the North Fort Myers High School girls basketball team as it learns to play against varsity teams when JV experience may be in order.

But even though they are 1-6, there are signs they are gaining some momentum, playing a very competitive game against Canterbury, building an eight-point halftime lead against a rebuilding team that reached states two years ago.

Again, consistency let them down as Canterbury turned up the heat defensively and Ashley Powers scored 22 of her game-high 26 points in the second half to lead the Cougars over North 42-37.

“They made second half adjustments and it took us a while to respond. Good coached teams respond in the second half,” North coach David Pasquale said. “We’re a developing program. We take it one day at a time and we try to get better 1 percent every day.”

The Red Knights had their moments, especially in the second quarter when they outscored Canterbury 10-2 as Mary Campbell provided the spark on offense to give North a 21-13 halftime lead.

“We took care of the basketball and you have to protect the rim. It’s fundamentals that win the game not shooting threes or being fancy,” Pasquale said.

The Cougars went into full court press mode, providing opportunities on the other end for Powers. North went scoreless for the first six minutes of the second half.

Yet the teams tied at 26 after three quarters. and North retook a six-point lead as Campbell and Reece Morgan (10 points), another bright spot for North, scored key buckets.

North couldn’t hold it as Powers scored 12 straight points and Canterbury finished the game with a 16-5 run.

“We came out lethargic and we needed to pick up our sense of urgency on defense, which is our game,” said Canterbury coach Elisha Murray. “They put us in a situation where we had to buckle down. Powers is one of the players from the state team and she’s really an impact player. We lean on her a lot.”

Pasquale said Campbell and Morgan are two seniors who have provided leadership for a team and know the ups and downs of playing at North.

“They stepped it up tonight. They have been integral parts of the program for four years and have played a lot of varsity basketball. I expect that from them every day,” Pasquale said.

“Coming back from break we did pretty well. We’re starting to find our groove as a team. I think we’ll play better basketball as the season goes on because we’re learning to find our spots, adjust defensively, see who’s open and make better passes,” Campbell said, who led North with 16 points. “We need to calm down during the game because we’re capable of making those passes. We just need to adjust.”