EVERETT - The Everett Lady Warriors needed to bounce back in a big way after shooting just 20 percent while suffering a setback at the hands of rival Tussey Mountain in their regular season finale.
The Warriors came out firing on all cylinders in the District 5 Class AA semifinals and North Star was the recipient of their frustration as they advanced to the championship game with a 75-46 trouncing of the Lady Cougars on Thursday night at Everett Area High School.
"It wasn't a surprise that we got off to the start that we did," Everett coach Keith Moyer said. "I told the kids in the locker room that I think we've been more focused since our last loss to end the season. Our practices have been great. The kids were really focused tonight and it showed - right from the tip."
The Lady Warriors will get a chance to avenge the loss to the Lady Titans, a semifinal winner over Windber, when the two squads square off on Friday, March 1 at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown's Sportscenter.
Everett opened the contest with a 7-0 run, then went up 18-4 before closing out the first quarter up by 18 [26-8].
"Twenty-six [points] is too many [to give up] in the first quarter," North Star coach Randy Schrock said. "We typically don't give that up. We were nervous coming out of the gate."
The veteran senior leaders of the Warriors got things rolling as Aubrea Phipps knocked in 11 of her game-high 24 in the opening quarter, while point guard Bailey Morral canned two 3-pointers early in the quarter and finished with 10 of her 16.
While the proven players sparked Everett out of the gate, North Star had to handle the onslaught with four freshmen in the starting lineup.
Moyer cautioned his squad not to let up or relax before sending them back out onto the floor to start the second quarter.
"We've been in that situation before were we've given up given up a big lead [that we had] and made the game close at the end. I just wanted to make sure we didn't do that," Moyer said. "We've got some veteran players that are really hungry and they weren't going to let that happen tonight. It's tough sometimes to play in a game where you get up so big in the first quarter and then you try to sustain that effort and that energy. The kids played well."
The Lady Cougars' inexperience played a big factor, but the team from Boswell never quit battling the entire game despite insurmountable odds.
"We're relentless. We don't quit regardless of the score," Schrock said. "I think that's a good trademark for a young team like we are. We're going to keep pressing on We got some playoff experience now, and we'll come back next year with a different attitude."
Kayla Rice and fellow frosh Courtney Schrock were the only NS players in double figures with 17 and 15 respectively,
While the team captains got things rolling for Everett, it was a freshman of their own that kept things under control in the paint as Kadie Morral finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Phipps pulled down 11 rebounds as the Lady Warriors won the battle on the glass as well with a 33-26 advantage, and a 23-16 edge in turnovers on the evening - 11 of the 23 NS turnovers came on steals by Everett.
Everett outscored North Star every quarter while only allowing NS just one basket in the final period and just five total in the second half. The Lady Cougars did, however, connect on 14-of-20 free throw attempts after the break.
The Lady Warriors' largest lead of the game was 32 [75-43] when freshman Allison Snider connected on the first of two free throws after coming up with a steal and getting fouled going to the basket.
"North Star's going to be a really good team in a couple of years," Moyer said. "They're a good team now, I think they're going to be a really great team in a couple of years. They have a lot of talented kids and they're young."
NORTH STAR (46): Zuchelli 0 3-5 3, Schrock 4 6-7 15, Carmean 0 0-0 0, Rice 8 0-0 17, Berkebile 0 0-2 0, Novak 2 3-4 7, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Joseph 1 2-4 4, Forney 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 14-22 46.
EVERETT (75): B. Morral 5 3-4 16, Beegle 1 1-2 3, Au. Phipps 10 4-8 24, Duvall 1 0-0 3, K. Morral 9 2-4 20, Snider 2 1-2 5, Rice 1 2-2 4, Hillenbrand 0 0-0 0, Al. Phipps 0 0-0 0, Clark 0 0-0 0, Foor 0 0-0 0, Appel 0 0-0 0, McDonald 0 0-0 0, Price 0 0-0 0. Totals: 29 13-22 75.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
North Star8 13 15 10-46
Everett26 17 17 15-75
3-point field goals: North Star 2 (Schrock, Rice); Everett 4 (B. Morral 3, Duvall).
Records: North Star (7-16); Everett (17-6).