Before the Northridge High School girls basketball team played Johnstown-Monroe last Thursday, Ashley Holmberg wanted her team to have a clean slate.

Before the Northridge High School girls basketball team played Johnstown-Monroe last Thursday, Ashley Holmberg wanted her team to have a clean slate.

The Vikings had won just one of their first four games, with the win coming in a season-opening 31-23 victory over Fredericktown on Dec. 2. The first-year coach wanted her players to forget about the three-game losing streak.

That approach seemed to work as host Northridge edged the Johnnies 48-46 in an MBC game.

"We talked about this game being the beginning of a new season and now we're starting over 1-0," Holmberg said. "We (played) Danville (last) Saturday and we'll come in (last Friday) and do what we need to do to get better. We'll come in and shoot free throws. I keep stressing that free throws and defense as being what will win ballgames for us."

Sierra Fronk, who finished with seven points, tied the game for Northridge at 46 with a 12-foot bank shot with 42.9 seconds to play. After the Johnnies missed a shot with 18 seconds remaining, Holmberg called a timeout to set up a final shot. When that plan went awry, senior point guard Lauren Cornwell found a seam in the lane, drove in and laid up the game-winner with 5 seconds remaining.

"That was a great, beautiful left-handed layup," Holmberg said. "We set up for a low-post screen for Maddie (Hess) to get a baseline shot because she's money from there. We reversed the ball and the play wasn't there. Lauren saw the opening and took it."

Kelsey Garrabrant had 12 points with three 3-pointers to lead the Vikings and Hess added 11 points. Keilah Ketron, a 6-foot-2 post player, scored nine points, fouling out with 4:56 remaining and Johnstown leading 40-37.

Following the Ketron foul, Marissa Sheets missed the opening free throw of a one-and-one opportunity for the Johnnies, but the Vikings stood still as if another free throw was coming. Johnstown's Laiken Valentine then burst into the lane for a rebound and put back to increase the lead to five. Northridge followed with a 7-0 run for a 44-42 lead with 2:31 to play.

"I think they were thinking, 'Oh crap, that happened didn't it,'" Holmberg said. "I think they were scared I was going to call a timeout. They really got their heads in the game after that."

Johnstown's Lydia Ulry followed with a pair of inside baskets for four of her career-high 18 points, 14 coming in the second half. Fronk and Cornwell then scored the game's final points.

"Lydia has been playing great on the inside and had a great game scoring and on the boards," said Johnstown coach Connie Allen of Ulry, who had 12 rebounds. "We have people who can score and we showed that."

Holly Sammons scored 11 points for the Johnnies, Valentine had six points and Makenzie Spang had five.

"I know (the players) probably don't see it this way, but this is a step in the right direction," Allen said. "We have been losing some close games and when we start playing with some confidence, we can win those close games. When we get our confidence up, we can be a good team."