SUWANEE - After a disappointing start to their Region 7-AAAAA schedule last week in a loss to Norcross, North Gwinnett's girls notched their second straight region victory Tuesday night by topping Peachtree Ridge 41-32.
The win boosted North's record to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the region while the Lions fell to 3-2 overall and 1-2 in region play.
"It wasn't pretty but that's how we have to play," North head coach Tony Watkins said. "(Peachtree Ridge) was patient on offense and knew how to attack our zone. If they had made a few more of their shots, we would've been in trouble."
That zone defense by North forced the Lions to work the perimeter and mainly settle for jump shots.
Most of those jump shots weren't falling. The Lions hit just 12 field goals.
Even though half of those field goals were 3-pointers, the lack of an inside game kept the Lions away from the free-throw line most of the night. And they missed four of the six shots they did get.
North was off to a good start in the first quarter, jumping out to a 12-4 lead. Stephanie Owens, who led all players with 12 points, had the hot hand early, canning a pair of 3-pointers in the opening period.
Owens continued that pace in the second quarter with two more 3-pointers, but the Lions also found their range from outside. Erika Waters, who finished with eight points, scored five of those in the second and was part of a 5-0 spurt at the end of the half that pulled the Lions within 24-16 at the half.
The North defense clamped down once again in the third quarter, holding the Lions to three points while forcing five turnovers. That Peachtree Ridge bucket came on a 3-pointer by D'Atra Sawyer - and only after 5:35 had elapsed off the clock.
Trailing 35-19 headed into the fourth, the Lions' Brittany Jack tried to bring her team back with five of her team-best 10 points in the period. Sawyer and Waters also each added a 3-pointer, but the Bulldog lead was just too big to overcome.
Abby Slocumb also provided a boost for North with 10 rebounds, eight points, two blocks and two steals. Stephanie Wheeler finished with eight points, seven rebounds and four assists.