HUNTERSVILLE North Mecklenburgs girls basketball team has used a simple game plan all season get off to a strong start each quarter, and make their opponents work to come back.
That plan worked for the Vikings No. 3 in the Observers Sweet 16 over three quarters in a 62-54 victory over Mallard Creek on Tuesday night.
Jasmine Bullock scored 15 points for North Mecklenburg (19-1, 10-0), which has won 13 straight and is a game away from clinching a share of the I-Meck 4A title.
Kelly Beasley added 11 points, Kelsey Ellison had 10 points and nine rebounds, and Jasmine Cash pulled down 12 rebounds for the Vikings, who have won 14 straight at home dating to last season.
We definitely want to make anybody we play, play our game, North Meck coach Jennifer Baker said. We want to get them out of their game ... and make them do things they normally wouldnt want to do.
A 10-2 run in the opening minutes of the first quarter put the Vikings ahead before Mallard Creek rallied to pull within three points (14-11).
A slow start in the second quarter then allowed the Mavericks to lead three times, the last at 28-27 on Tycara Allens 3-pointer with 1:48 left. But ShaNyia Lesters jumper seven seconds later put North Meck back in the lead, and Jasmine Bullocks layup with 1:17 left gave the Vikings a 31-28 halftime lead.
North Meck got two short runs to open the third and fourth quarters and help them pull away from Mallard Creek. The Vikings went up 50-41 by the end of the third quarter and led by as many as 13 points with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth.
Theyve got a good team, Mavericks coach Clarence Johnson said. We usually have one bad quarter to start off, but this time we had two (in the second half).
A win Wednesday at Lake Norman would give North Meck a share of the title, then beating Vance at home Friday would give it the I-Meck championship outright, no matter how Mallard Creek (15-6, 8-3) or third-place Hough (12-6, 7-4) finish the season.
We tell them to go out every game and just play, Baker said. Dont worry about anything else. The accolades are good, but we need to just play.