RIDGELY — Leading from the first bucket to the last, the North Caroline High girls’ basketball team led by 15 at halftime, and shut out Kent County in the third quarter during a 57-20 win Thursday night.
The win upped the Bulldogs’ season mark to 7-5 overall, 6-4 North Bayside, and gave them a two-game regular-season sweep. The Trojans fell to 3-10, 1-9.
But it started out looking like anything but a walk for the Bulldogs. Both teams struggled early, combining to miss more than 30 between them, most of them second- or third-chance tries. At the end of the first quarter, North Caroline led 11-8.
And on the bench between quarters, Bulldogs head coach Mark Potter gave his girls a pep talk which appeared to work.
“I had said before the game, I think we’ll play well tonight, and we did,” Potter said. “But we shot horribly early on. And Kent had some luck driving in. We talked between the first and second quarter about the effort on the defense, and I begged that we increase our intensity.
“They came out and held them to three in the second quarter,” Potter added. “Our shooting percentage in the first quarter wasn’t good. We shot what, five percent in the first quarter? ... Whatever it was, it wasn’t good.
Leading 26-11 at halftime, the Bulldogs turned the dial up a bit more in the third quarter defensively, holding Kent scoreless, and 0 for 11 from the floor, during that eight-minute span.
“We’ve got to work on some more things, though,” Potter said. “We’ve got to be more gutsy. But there are things we’re starting to work in, and they’re starting to buy into them.
“They brought the intensity, we forced some turnovers, and we got the intensity we wanted,” Potter continued. “We just played better defense in the second half. I think we outscored them 21-0 in the third quarter.”
“I’ve got six (freshmen). And my one girl, Kelsey (Dumpson) is a senior, but she’s only played two years. And one of those years, she was out hurt,” Trojans head coach Carroll Jackson-Smith said. “They’re just babies. There’s still so much to learn. So many of the kids coming up from middle school really just don’t know the game very well, and a lot of them have never played.
“You always see improvement, but they’re so raw,” Jackson-Smith added. “They do try, though. There’s just so many things that they don’t know. ... And a lot of them are coming onto the court for the first time, have never really watched basketball, and have never played a basketball (game).”
North Caroline guard Kandice Thomas scored 12 before halftime Thursday. Her 21 points led the game, and marked a career high as well. Hailey Temple added 17 for North Caroline.
Dumpson’s 10 points led the Trojan effort.
The Trojans host North Dorchester, Jan. 29 at 4 p.m. Ninety minutes later, the Bulldogs visit Easton in a rematch of a game the Warriors won 54-33 in Ridgely the week before Christmas.