Maxwell scores 46 as Everett routs North Star
EVERETT — With 2:37 left in the third quarter and their team up by 25 points, the Everett student section began the “I believe that we will win” chant during a timeout.
A chant not normally heard until the final minutes and sometimes seconds of games, it certainly didn’t lack the truth behind it.
With junior Kaitlyn Maxwell having the game of her life with a career-high 46 points, the Lady Warriors strolled into the District 5 Class 2A championship with a 75-36 win over North Star in semifinal action Tuesday night.
“Kaitlyn was pretty special tonight. … She’s not going to turn down a shot. If she’s open or if she thinks she can get to the rim, she’s going to do that,” Everett coach Keith Moyer said. “She has the green light, like all good players do. Tonight, we didn’t have a lot of points from other places because the ball was going in the basket.”
With the win, top-seeded Everett improved to 20-3 and will meet the winner of Windber and Southern Fulton on Friday night at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown for the title at 6:30 p.m. Meanwhile, the loss ended fourth-seeded North Star’s season at 13-9.
“Her (Maxwell) first step is unbelievable,” North Star coach Kevin Nicklow said. “She’s so good. She’s a great player. You can tell she’s a nice kid, too. You love to see good kids succeed. I just wish she wouldn’t have had as many as she did.”
In addition to Maxwell going off, Everett also held the Lady Cougars without a field goal for 8:21 from the second quarter into the third that helped them blow the contest wide open.
“The defense leads to offense,” Maxwell said. “When we were able to do that, it built up momentum, and it sort of puts a damper on the other team.”
Maxwell missed her first several shots of the night before she caught fire and didn’t look back, as she scored on putbacks, driving layups, floaters in the lane and on the baseline, jumpers in the lane and on the baseline, at the foul line and even tossed in a 35-foot heave that banked in to beat the halftime buzzer.
“I was trusting in God,” Maxwell said. “And I was thinking that He’ll give me the strength that I need, and to just forget about the other ones (shots) that I missed.”
The junior, who scored 14 points in the first and third quarters and had nine in the second and fourth to reach her career total, got a layup to go while being fouled at 6:18 of the opening quarter to get on the board. She converted the free throw attempt to complete the and-1.
While the Cougars never took the lead throughout, a Syd Ashbrook and-1 play knotted things up at 7-7 with 5:10 left in the first before Maxwell got her own and-1 opportunity on the ensuing possession when she hit a baseline pullup and made the foul shot to give Everett the lead for good at 10-7.
“We tried to get off to a good start, especially coming here you have to,” Nicklow said.
“Against a team like them, who has a guard like her (Maxwell), she hurts you so many different ways. We tried to help. Once we got down 15 (points), you can’t sit in the zone, so we had to play man, and she hurt us.”
Leading by 11 (24-13) following a putback from Madison Hicks, who also reached double figures with 10 points, the Lady Cougars would get the lead back to within single digits for the last time when Kyrsten Joseph, who fronted North Star with 17 points, drained a 3-pointer at the 6:06 mark of the second quarter to make the score 24-16.
Joseph hit a pair of free throws at the 2:02 mark to cut the lead to 28-18, but those would be the only points during an 18-2 run by the Lady Warriors, who turned up their defensive intensity by forcing eight turnovers and several rushed and challenged shot attempts, that saw their lead grow to 42-18.
“We have always been a good defensive team. I think we’ve showed that over the years, and I think we showed it this season,” Moyer said. “That’s what keeps us in ball games. That’s why we’ve been at this point in the season going into the finals many, many times.”
Hicks capped off the spurt when she grabbed a rebound off a missed Kristen Ewing foul shot, missed the initial putback attempt but then pulled down the board again before converting at 5:59 of the third.
Joseph, who missed part of the third and fourth quarters after getting cut over her left eye when colliding with Maxwell on a loose ball, drilled a 3-pointer for 25-feet at 5:45 to end the North Star drought without a field goal. Taylor Miller would follow with back-to-back triples of her own during the 9-2 run by the Lady Warriors that made the score 44-27 with 4:43 to go in the third.
At that point, the damage had already been done though as Maxwell would score the next 10 points of the game to put her team up 52-27 — leading to the timeout where the chant started.
“North Star came ready to play. They made a couple of shots early,” Moyer said. “It was back-and-forth at the beginning, but once we settled in defensively, we had a pretty good game plan against their dribble-drive offense, and it showed over time.”
“We knew coming in here it wasn’t going to be an easy game,” Nicklow said. “They showed why they’re number one.”
NORTH STAR (36): Emert 0 3-4 3, Ashbrook 2 2-3 6, T. Miller 2 0-0 6, Joseph 6 2-3 17, Carmean 0 0-0 0, C. Miller 0 0-0 0, Kelly 0 0-0 0, Hause 0 0-0 0, Walker 1 0-0 2, Satkovich 1 0-0 2. Totals: 12 7-10 36.
EVERETT (75): Jay 0 2-2 2, Colledge 3 2-2 9, Ewing 1 0-4 2, Hicks 4 2-4 10, Maxwell 17 11-12 46, Bulger 1 0-0 2, Iseminger 0 0-0 0, Treece 0 2-2 2, L. Mills 0 0-0 0, Nave 1 0-0 2, R. Mills 0 0-0 0. Totals: 27 19-26 75.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
North Star 12 6 10 8 — 36
Everett 20 18 20 17 — 75
3-point field goals: North Star 5 (Joseph 3, T. Miller 2); Everett 2 (Maxwell 1, Colledge 1).
Records: North Star (13-9); Everett (20-3).
Officials: Ron Koppenhaver, Johnny Sloas, Will Hoffman.