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Strong second half sends Norse past Cowan

BY JACOB RUDE - sports@wabashplaindealer.com

TIPTON – A big second half spear-headed by Kelcie Thomson and Kyra Kennedy powered Northfield to a win in the opening contest of the regional over Cowan, 

Leading just 24-17 after a sluggish first half, Kennedy poured in seven points in the third quarter and Thomson six as the Norse lead stretched to 17 points in the frame. A pair of three-pointers from Ashley Evans in the closing 40 seconds pulled the Blackhawks to back within 11 heading into the fourth, offering a brief spark heading into the final frame Cowan.

Northfield, though, opened the final period on a 17-2 run in the opening 4:46 before emptying the bench after a three-point play from Ariel Dale gave Class A No. 4 Northfield a 58-32 lead.

It was hardly easy going for the Norse, who entered as the top-ranked team in the regional, in the opening two quarters. While threes from Thomson and Dale to open the contest gave Northfield a quick 6-0 lead, Cowan responded with an 8-2 run that tied the game up on an Evans three-pointer.

The Norse rebounded and led 12-9 after one but Cowan took its only lead of the game at 13-12 after a basket from Kaylee Kear at the 5:48 mark on the second period.

A pair of free throws and a layup from Kearston Stout restored Northfield’s lead before an 8-0 run from the Norse pushed the advantage to 24-15. A pair of free throw from Kerr pulled Cowan to within 24-17 at the half but it would be as close as the Blackhawks would be the rest of the way.

Thomson and Kennedy helped the Norse fly out of the gate in the third, scoring all but two of the 17 points for the Norse. A pair of layups from Kennedy was bookended by a pair of three-point plays from Thomson before Kennedy converted a layup and two free throws to open up a 38-23 lead.

An Abbey Ross jumper at the 2:21 mark gave Northfield a 41-24 lead but Evans provided Cowan with one last rally, nailing back-to-back threes to close the deficit to 41-30 heading into the fourth.

Northfield, though, showed off its depth in the fourth as six different players scored in the period. After trading points in the opening 78 seconds, Northfield rattled off a 15-0 run in just over three minutes to put the game to rest before emptying the bench.

Thomson poured in 18 points to lead the Norse while Kennedy added 13 with 12 of those coming in the second half. Dale finished with 10, Stout added eight and Emma Hoover chipped in six.

Kear had 10 for Cowan and Evans chipped in nine.

Northfield advanced to the regional final against Blue River. The Vikings downed North Vermillion 57-42 in the opening game of the regional. Results from the contest were unavailable as of Plain Dealer deadline.