Written by SportsDayDFW.com
D helps McKinney North girls survive 13.5 percent 1st-half shooting
Relentless press helps 13-4A leaders overcome cold-shooting first half
LUCAS — The McKinney North girls basketball team relied on defense to pull out a 39-30 victory against host Lovejoy on Tuesday night.
The offense didn’t leave much choice, shooting an uncharacteristic 13.5 percent during an ugly first half.
The area’s top-ranked Class 4A team, though, is equipped to deal with such an unbalanced performance.
“It all starts with our defense,” North coach Michael Oldham said. “Our defense kept us in the game when those shots wouldn’t go.”
North (19-4, 10-0) averages less than 40 points against this season, thanks in part to a full-court press in which up to four players patrol the opponent’s backcourt.
Lovejoy (13-9, 8-2) struggled to find a rhythm, turning the ball over 21 times and shooting just 29.7 percent.
North senior forward KK Connor held Lovejoy leading scorer Shani Rainey to seven points. Rainey, the area’s second-leading scorer in Class 4A, entered the game averaging 19.7 points.
“KK always draws the toughest assignments,” Oldham said, “and holding [Rainey] down is big for the defense. Our offense can feed off that.”
North’s offense picked up steam in the second half and opened the fourth quarter with baskets on three consecutive possessions to pull away.
North, eyeing a second straight district title, owns a two-game lead over Lovejoy in the 13-4A standings.
Senior forward Amy Kleynans led North with nine points, while Connor and freshman guard Stephanie Jackson chipped in eight points apiece.
Samantha Odom led Lovejoy with a game-high 14 points.
Get the latest Dallas sports news at SportsDayDFW.com