Tuesday , February 20, 2018 - 7:59 PM
TAYLORSVILLE — Things were going so well for Northridge early in Tuesday’s game that 3-pointers by Abigail Neff and Brooklyn Perkins went in even though they didn’t call bank.
The Knights rode some hot outside shooting and a solid defense into the quarterfinals of the girls 6A state tournament with a 50-28 victory over Cyprus at Salt Lake Community College.
Lydia Mashburn opened the game with a 3 from the corner, then Neff followed with a long trey off the glass — and Northridge never looked back.
“Those two first shots gave us a bunch of confidence. Even if you’re not the one shooting it, you look around and your teammates are scoring and you try to find them and that helps everybody,” Neff said. “The bank shot — I got a lot of crap for that from my teammates.”
Neff finished with 14 points, including two 3s, and added seven rebounds, two steals and a block.
Northridge made four 3-pointers in the first quarter and rolled to a commanding 18-3 lead.
“It was a good start. We like to hit those shots, but I was concerned we were going to settle and shoot 3 after 3 all night, but they hit them,” Northridge coach Chris Smith said. “It was important to start strong; that was the big thing and I was proud of the way they started.”
Perkins set the tone early, driving to the basket for a layup, knocking down the banked 3 and adding free throws for eight first half points. She totaled 12 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal for the game.
“Coming into the game, I knew I needed to be a leader as the point guard and make sure everyone was on the same page in doing what we do and playing our game,” Perkins said. “My drives to the basket bring energy. When other players see me do that, then they know they can too.”
The Knights held Cyprus to three, six and six points the first three quarters to build a 39-15 lead and held the Pirates to 18 percent shooting for the game.
Mashburn had seven points, six assists, a block and a steal for the Knights.
Northridge (16-5) has already set a school record for wins and picked up its first tournament victory since 1997, long before these girls were born.
“Honestly, we expected it. Not being cocky, but confident,” Smith said. “I let the girls know you can make some history here. It’s been a long time since it’s happened but I didn’t want to put too much pressure on them ... I told the girls enjoy this moment, but don’t be satisfied with what we’ve done so far. Just continue to push; we have an end goal in mind and we haven’t reached it yet.”
The bank is open for Northridge at least for another round. The Knights advance to play at 4:10 p.m. Thursday against Region 4 champion Bingham, who survived a scare by beating four-seed Taylorsville by four.
6A GIRLS FIRST ROUND
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