North Rock Creek, Tecumseh divide season openers

Keven Scrutchins
Tecumseh's Kenzli Warden (11, black jersey) attempts to put up a shot over the defense of North Rock Creek's Lydia VanAntwerp (11) Tuesday night.

The North Rock Creek basketball squads hosted the Tecumseh Savages for a season-opening doubleheader Tuesday night and the two schools came away with a split.

The Lady Savages downed the Lady Cougars 57-45 before the Cougars handed the Savages a 66-59 setback.

In the nightcap, the Cougars held the lead over Tecumseh for all but a minute and some change in the first three quarters of play, before the Savages found their rhythm and tightened the contest in the final eight minutes.

North Rock Creek led 18-12 after the first quarter and extended it by a single digit in the second, taking a 30-23 halftime lead. Mitchell James paced North Rock Creek with 10 of his team-high 19-points in the first half. He hit two-treys during his first-half scoring frenzy. Tecumseh led briefly in the first quarter on a Brady Overstreet bucket which gave the Savages a 12-11 lead at the 3:56 mark. The Cougars defense then stiffened, holding Tecumseh scoreless for the remainder of the first quarter.

In the third quarter, Tecumseh came out firing from long distance, hitting four treys to cut the North Rock Creek lead to 44-40 with one quarter to play. Overstreet led the way with 11 third-quarter points including three bombs. Overstreet finished with a game-high 22 points for Tecumseh.

The fourth quarter remained tight before a three-minute drought from North Rock Creek’s offense opened the door for Tecumseh. The Savages took advantage and captured a 50-49 lead with 5:28 to play on two free throws by Merek Harjo. Tecumseh wasn’t done, adding five more points to take a 55-49 lead with 3:27 left to play on an Amos Gallaway bucket.

The pesky Cougars then reeled off 10 straight points in the next two minutes of play, and on back-to-back treys by Diego Garcia and James, regained a 57-55 lead with 2:21 remaining. That was the end of the road for Tecumseh as the Cougars outscored the visitors 9-1 to capture the seven-point win.

James was joined in double-digit scoring by Jace McRay and Garcia, who each scored 13 points. Carter Harvey, who had two big buckets down the stretch, finished with eight for the Cougars.

Jose Lugo scored 18 points for Tecumseh and Harjo chipped in with 10.

In the opener, the Lady Savages trailed the contest for the first three minutes of play before turning up the heat on the Lady Cougars. Sami Schweighardt’s three-ball at the 5:01 mark of the first quarter gave the Lady Savages a 6-4 lead and they never looked back.

Tecumseh led 15-7 after the first quarter then stretched it to 25-15 at the half. The Lady Savages were balanced in their offensive attack as six different players scored in the first half. The Lady Cougars stayed within striking distance throughout the second half, but could get no closer than seven points. They reached that peak on a three-ball by Jayden Haney with 3:10 left in the third, cutting the Tecumseh lead to 30-23.

The Lady Savages' Kenzli Warden then scored seven straight points to give Tecumseh some much needed breathing room heading into the final frame. Warden led all scorers with 20 points off the bench. The Lady Savages led 37-25 heading into the fourth.

The Lady Savages kept North Rock Creek from creeping back into the game in the fourth, hitting 12 of their 15 free throw attempts in the final eight minutes of play. Tawny Billy joined Warden in double figures with 10 points.

North Rock Creek’s Olivia McRay led the Lady Cougars with 15 points. Haney added a dozen and point guard Katlyn Masquas netted eight points.