The Northland High School girls basketball team moved a step closer to its first state tournament berth since 1982 by beating Gahanna 53-38 on March 6 in a Division I regional semifinal at Otterbein University.
Junior guard Alexis Peterson made 10 of 11 free throws and scored 20 points for the Vikings, who improved to 24-1 and will play Reynoldsburg for a regional title at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 10, at Otterbein.
Northland benefited from a poor shooting night by the Lions, who were 13-for-56 from the floor and 2-for-14 from 3-point range.
“We wanted to make them shoot the ball from the outside,” said Vikings senior Brandi Curd-Watson, who was 4-for-6 from the foul line and finished with eight points and four rebounds. “It feels great. I thought we did a good job on boxing out, getting the rebounds and making our foul shots.”
The Lions (18-7) made just one of their first 21 shots and trailed 24-10 at halftime.
Gahanna attempted to create more opportunities in transition in the second half, but Northland stretched its lead to as much as 37-14 with 2 minutes, 7 seconds left in the third quarter.
Junior guard Quiera Lampkins scored 10 of her team-high 13 points over the final two quarters for the Lions, who never got closer than 12 points in the second half.
Kierra Simpson made all four of her free throws and had eight points and seven rebounds for Northland, which went 20 of 25 from the foul line.
Raven Bryant-Williams also scored eight points for the Vikings.
Gahanna played its third consecutive game without junior guard Reyna Montgomery, who has a concussion.
“I thought our effort was great and I thought we took good shots, but we’ve got to knock those shots down,” Lions coach Rick Hauser said.
Northland was 16-for-39 from the floor and outrebounded the Lions 42-29.
Reynoldsburg defeated Canton McKinley 62-57 in the early game March 6 at Otterbein to set up the regional final.
“We’ve got to be able to run some kind of offense (against Reynoldsburg),” Vikings coach Dean Washington said. “We’re still one win away, so there’s no history yet.”