Attitude and effort.
Those are the words that head coach Julie Buckler hopes her Nordonia girls basketball team will live by this season.
The Knights showed those qualities Friday as they got to the season off to a fine start with a 52-47 victory over visiting North Canton Hoover.
Nordonia led 16-13 after one quarter but trailed 31-25 at halftime. Then, in the third quarter, the Knights pulled to within one point at 35-34 before putting it in high gear in the fourth period.
"The girls came out in the third quarter with a different mentality, and that mentality transferred from the third quarter to the fourth," Buckler said. "We just had the energy and effort needed to make that little comeback.
"Two of the things we talk about are the attitude and the effort – how those are things we can control, and I think the girls did a great job controlling those things in this game."
Leading the way for Nordonia were junior guard Hallie Majoros and senior guard/forward Lizzie Imrie. Majoros scored nine points, while Imrie had eight points, six assists and four rebounds in her first game back from injury.
"Hallie did a great job defensively," said Buckler. "She was able to hold the girl who she was defending points-wise in the second half.
"Lizzie was a big impact player for us on both ends of the court. She showed a lot of leadership. She has this unreal mindset to reach her goals, and she did what was needed. In the fourth quarter, she scored six of our 18 points. She was attacking, doing all those little things, was a key offensive player."
Two other key contributors were sophomore guard Ella Gorta and sophomore forward Kennedy Syllaba. Gorta had nine points and four rebounds, and Syllaba recorded nine points and five rebounds.
"Ella does these little things throughout the game where she’s able to get her hands on the ball like tip it to a teammate," Buckler said. "She knocked down some big shots for us in big moments. In the late stages of the game, she knocked down two foul shots that helped maintain our lead.
"Kennedy was, size-wise, smaller than the girl she was defending but did not hold back. She just fought and fought and got physical and was able to help us out big time defensively with that matchup."
Junior guard/forward Madison Cluse had 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists, while senior guard Danae Williams scored seven points.
"On the defensive end, in the third quarter alone, Madison had to have seven rebounds," said the coach. "You just saw her mentality in the whole second half really. She wasn’t going to hold back. The end game was to win the game, and she helped us get there.
"Danae gave us some great energy, great minutes. She sparked us on the offensive end at times."
Nordonia was scheduled to play at Akron Buchtel Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The Knights are set to compete at the Toni Ross Spirit Foundation Tournament against East Cleveland Shaw, Canfield South Range and host Warren Howland Friday and Saturday.