So far this season, there's been no better indicator of success for the Nordonia High School girls basketball team than turnovers.
When the Lady Knights commit less than 15 turnovers in a game, they win. When they commit more than 15, they don't.
That corollary continued last week, as Nordonia split a pair of Suburban League contests.
The Lady Knights defeated Copley 52-43 at home Dec. 5.
The score was tied 11-11 after the opening quarter, but Nordonia outscored the Lady Indians 20-10 in the second period. Copley attempted a comeback in the second half, but the Lady Knights held them off.
"We came out a little flat, but we had excellent second and third quarters," said Nordonia head coach Mike Griffen. "We got out to a commanding lead based on a lot of pressure. We forced a lot of turnovers."
Three players scored in double digits for Nordonia. Sophomore guard Brandy Merritt and senior guard Nataly Ciocca both tallied 12 points, while junior forward Morgan Mitchell produced 11 points and eight rebounds.
Senior forward Allyson Carpenter accounted for six points, and junior forward Brook Harter contributed four markers. Three Lady Knights added two points each -- freshman guard Katie Karalic, senior guard Brittany Simon and senior guard Hannah Woodall.
Both Merritt and Ciocca also dished out three assists.
Nordonia then dropped a 60-46 decision to Cloverleaf on the road on Saturday, Dec. 8.
The Lady Colts jumped to a 19-15 lead by the end of the opening period, and they outscored the Lady Knights 12-5 during the second quarter.
That resulted in a 31-20 halftime deficit for Nordonia.
Cloverleaf maintained the pressure in the second half, topping the Lady Knights 16-10 during the third frame before cruising to victory in the final period.
"We started out great, but then they [the Lady Colts] forced us into some hurried plays and turnovers," said Griffen. "We were able to cut [their lead] to three points with about three minutes left, but we missed some free throws down the stretch, and that hurt us. It was a closer game than the score indicates."
Nordonia only knocked down 9-of-31 free throw attempts (29 percent).
Mitchell led the Lady Knights with a double-double, pouring in 21 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. No other Nordonia player reached double figures in scoring, although Carpenter and Ciocca recorded seven points apiece.
"Carpenter had a great game off the bench," said Griffen. "She had eight rebounds and led us in assists, too."
Also scoring for the Lady Knights were Karalic (six points), junior guard Kayla Mislosky (two points), senior guard Aysa Shine (two) and sophomore center Hannah Stroe (one).
Nordonia now sports an overall record of 3-2. The Lady Knights are also 1-1 in Suburban League action.
On Dec. 12, Nordonia will face its biggest test of the season thus far when it travels to defending Suburban League champion Wadsworth. Varsity tip time is set for 7:30 p.m.
On Dec. 15, the Lady Knights will visit conference counterpart Tallmadge. Varsity tip time is set for 2:30 p.m.
"Rebounding and turnovers are key for us," said Griffen. "Turnovers have been a weakness. When we're below 15, we win. In our two losses, we've averaged 26. We're averaging 21 steals a game, which is great, but you can't turn the ball back over, and that's what we've been doing."