North Rock Creek overcame a sluggish start to trip up Latta 44-36 Tuesday night in boys' high school basketball action.
The 3-1 Cougars missed their first seven shots of the game in scoring only four first-quarter points. They were 2-of-10 in the opening period before finding a better shooting touch the rest of the way.
NRC shot 50% over the final three quarters and played solid defense throughout.
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“They had a good game plan against us. They slowed the game down, taking 40-50 seconds off the clock,” said Cougar head coach Evan Smith. “When we don't shoot in a rhythm, you have a hard time putting it in the hole. But I'm proud of the kids for overcoming adversity.”
Defense played a critical role in the victory for NRC which totaled 11 steals while forcing the Panthers into 13 turnovers.
Meanwhile, the Cougars committed just three miscues.
“The turnovers were a big plus for us and we didn't give up as much offensive rebounds as we had the last few games,” Smith said.
Jace McRay led the way for NRC with four steals. Jordan Coody followed with three and Noah McMullan had two.
Coody was the game's top scorer with 13 points as he was 6-of-7 from the floor, nailed his only free shot, hustled for three rebounds and handed out a pair of assists. McRay chipped in 10 points while going 5-of-6 from the free-throw line and draining one 3-point basket.
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McMullan was 4-of-4 from the line and nailed one trey on his way to nine points. Diego Garcia added seven points, five boards, one assist and a steal. Rayne Jones contributed five points and three boards off the bench.
Trailing 8-4 after a quarter, the Cougars outscored Latta 14-6 in the second thanks to 6-of-11 shooting from the field. NRC led 18-14 at the half. The Cougars later had a 29-24 advantage after three quarters.
Tyler Ireland, off the bench, led the Panthers with nine points off three 3-point buckets. Starter Lincoln Estes followed with eight points off 4-of-6 shooting from the floor. Reece Jordan hit two treys and finished with six points and Cooper Coulson tacked on five in a losing cause.
Latta 47, North Rock Creek 26 (Girls)
The Latta Lady Panthers shot 60% from the floor in the first half and forced the North Rock Creek Lady Cougars into 21 turnovers in registering the 21-point triumph.
Latta finished the game at 46.5% from the field as Taryn Batterton poured in 17 points while going 7-of-11 from the field, 3-of-4 from the foul line, recording two steals and blocking a shot.
The Lady Panthers did all of their damage without a 3-point basket.
Brooklyn Ryan and Chloe Miller also had efficient shooting nights as Ryan was 4-of-8 to go with seven rebounds and three steals and Miller was 4-of-5 with four boards and three assists.
Triniti Cotanny and Jaylee Willis followed with six points each. Cotanny also yanked down a team-best eight rebounds and provided an assist. Willis had three boards, three assists and a steal.
Out of those 21 steals, Latta compiled 10 steals with Ryan leading the way.
Willis and Miller had three assists apiece as the Lady Panthers totaled 10 for the game.
Latta's hot start included an 8-of-12 shooting effort from the floor in the first quarter as the Lady Panthers raced out to a 16-2 cushion by period's end. It was 26-13 at halftime before Latta made it a rout with a 14-4 third quarter.
North Rock Creek (2-2) was held to 1-of-7 shooting in the opening period and committed eight of its turnovers during that span.
By halftime, the Lady Panthers finished 12-of-20 from the field while the Lady Cougars were only 5-of-18.
Sarah Campbell, off the bench, paced North Rock Creek with 10 points off 4-of-5 shooting, with a pair of treys.
Starter Kate Masquas tallied eight points and pulled down nine rebounds. Olivia Stacy tacked on four points. Hailey Hacker converted a pair of free throws while Lydia Van Antwerp and Macy Buoy had one each.
Both NRC teams continue play in the Hartshorne Tournament on Thursday.
This article originally appeared on The Shawnee News-Star: North Rock Creek boys overcome sluggish start to drop Latta