All it takes in the ultra-competitive Suburban League is a small lapse, and the Nordonia High School girls basketball team suffered a small lapse against National Division foe Stow-Munroe Falls.
The Lady Knights and the Lady Bulldogs battled at Stow High School Jan. 21. Stow defeated Nordonia by the score of 57-49.
The game was close in the first half. The Lady Bulldogs only led by the score of 24-23 at intermission.
However, Stow outscored the Lady Knights 21-12 during the third stanza. As a result, the Lady Bulldogs carried a 45-35 advantage into the final frame.
Nordonia actually took a 29-26 lead early in the third quarter, but a 15-3 run by the Bulldogs blew a close game open.
"In the first half, we followed our game plan pretty well," said Nordonia head coach Julie Buckler. "The third quarter has been a struggle for us all season, and it proved to be the case again."
Nordonia outscored Stow in the fourth quarter, but only by two points. That allowed the Lady Bulldogs to claim an eight-point victory. Stow also emptied its bench in the final two mitnues of the game.
Two players reached double digits in scoring for the Lady Knights. They were freshman guard Lizzie Imric with 21 points and sophomore guard Soleil Barnes with 15 points. Also cracking the scoring column for Nordonia were senior guard Sarah Turley with nine points and junior guard Sandra Spellman with four markers.
Stow was led by 14 points each from forwards Lauren Turschak and Lizzy Stefanov. The Bulldogs also got 11 points from guard Theresa Parr and nine points from point guard Lexi Petit.
With the loss to Stow, Nordonia's overall record on the season dipped to 7-8. The Lady Knights are also 5-4 in the National Division of the Suburban League.
Despite the loss, Buckler believes that her team is continuing to progress and gain the valuable experience that it needs.
"I feel like we're on the brink of jumping to the next level," she said. "We haven't figured out a way to overcome our inexperience quite yet. We didn't have much experience coming into the season, but we're moving in the right direction."
On Jan. 25, Nordonia will host division rival Brecksville-Broadview Heights. On Jan. 28, the Lady Knights will hit the road, traveling to division counterpart Cuyahoga Falls.
"Brecksville is a scrappy team, and Falls plays very well at home and we'll be going to their place," said Buckler. "They've had a couple of tight games against some good teams. We're going to have to play hard and get better every day."
The Division I Sectional/District Tournament draw is scheduled for Feb. 5.