By Jeff Ratliff
NAPOLEON — Napoleon used big runs at the end of the first period and beginning of the third quarter to pull away from invading Bowling Green Friday night in Napleon High School’s “Grand Canyon.”
Napoleon’s 10-0 run over the final four minutes of the first quarter gave the Wildcats a 19-7 lead and an 11-0 run by the hosts to start the second half sealed the deal on a 49-27 Northern Lakes League Cardinal Division win.
“I think defensively our pressure was able to speed things up,” said Napoleon coach Craig Cicero. “We were able to get out in transition and we did a good job of finding the open shooter.”
The ‘Cats made eight 3-pointers in the game, with five different players sinking baskets beyond the arc.
“This was more what we thought we would look like,” said Cicero. “We were more well-balanced scoring. We had a couple of kids out with injuries or illness, but we did a nice job of penetrating and finding the open shooter.”
Bowling Green girls basketball coach Jake Vanneman said, “At the end of the first quarter, they were able to get out in transition. As we chased, it allowed their shooters to be open for some back-breaking threes.
“It came down to the third quarter,” added Vanneman. “During the first three minutes of the third quarter we didn’t get back in transition.”
Napoleon jumped out to a 9-3 lead, as MaKayla Kruse and Lylah Huddle each hit triples and Kruse added a three-point play. BG bounced back with consecutive baskets by Macyn Dean-Scheele and Anne Konecny to cut the lead to 9-7 midway through the opening stanza.
Molly Rosebrook, off an assist from Chloe Cicero, scored in transition to start the pivotal 10-0 run. MaKayla Kruse scored a pair of baskets, while Lily Kruse added a free throw and Hannah Miller buried a three-pointer during the run.
Konecny scored off the same inbound play on consecutive trips down the court to make it 22-15 with 3½ minutes left in the first half, but Ella Tassler hit a triple, and after a basket by BG’s Lola Thompson, Tassler converted a three-point play for a 28-17 lead at intermission.
The ‘Cats put the game away to start the third period, as Huddle scored off an assist from Lily Kruse and Cicero sandwiched a pair of three-pointers around a triple by Tassler for a 39-17 lead.
Cicero sank her third triple of the second half 2½ minutes into the final canto for a 44-21 lead to seal the win for the ‘Cats.
“This was a good team win for us,” said coach Cicero. “We had a lot of kids step up in different situations.”
Napoleon (3-2 overall, 1-1 in the Cardinal Division) was led by MaKayla Kruse with 10 points, while Tassler and Cicero each added nine points and Lily Kruse finished with six points.
Bowling Green (2-4, 0-2) was paced by Konecny and Thompson, each with 10 points.
“I was pleased with the way we worked on the little things that we have been preaching in practice,” said Vanneman.
The Bobcats travel to Anthony Wayne Tuesday, while the Wildcats are at Sylvania Northview the same night.