CHARLESTON, W.Va. – No. 2 North Marion came into Wednesday’s Class AAA state tournament opener with a perfect 13-0 record, and with the knowledge of having already beaten Hampshire by 20 points earlier this season.
Mike Parrish’s group wasn’t going to let the Trojans hang around for long, with a trip to the Triple-A semi-finals on the line.
North Marion (14-0) forced 16 turnovers in the first half, which led to 24 points off turnovers through the first two quarters of play. The Huskies defense forced a total of 30 turnovers, and tallied 21 steals by the time the game was over.
Karlie Denham, who collected a team-high five steals, also scored a game-high 29 points, dished out seven assists and grabbed five rebounds.
Denham and lefty shooter Olivia Toland (16 pts, 5 ast) outscored Hampshire by themselves, as North Marion won easily, 80-47.
“We turned them over a lot that first game that we played them in the first half, and the second half they handled our press a little better,” said Parrish. “We flew around a little more today here the first half and (got) out in the passing lanes, and did a lot better with hustling and flying around.”
“I think we just worked really well as a team today. So, then everyone just got open shots and open looks. Everyone passed, everyone did their job to win the game,” Denham said.
Seven North Marion players picked up at least two steals in this game.
The Huskies never trailed, and led by as many as 40 points in the fourth quarter.
Freshman Emma Freels, making her state tournament debut, scored 12 points.
“It was definitely nerve-racking to begin, but after we got out there and started it up it felt more relaxing, having the team help me out,” Freels said.
Katlyn Carson added eight points, nine rebounds and five blocks.
Things do get tougher for North Marion, though, as the Huskies will take on 2,000-point scorer Bailey Goins and No. 3 Nitro on Friday morning.