Lincoln High is not an easy place to travel to and get a victory, but the Millard North girls basketball team didn’t really seem to have a problem with it on Saturday night.
Behind consistent outside shooting, a sizeable advantage on the boards and depth that many Class A teams will struggle with this season, the No. 3 Mustangs marched into the No. 5 Links' gym and dropped them by 20 points, 60-40, to push their win streak to four to open the season.
“The team we have is a very focused team but the message this season has been to play fearless, and I think they did a great job of that tonight,” Millard North coach David Diehl said. “It has motivated us all season and I think it made the difference tonight because Lincoln High is so scary with size and skill. The only option is to play harder than them.”
Whether the Mustangs played harder than the Links is up for debate, but where they really dominated Lincoln High was in their ability to shoot the ball.
Nicole Avila-Ambrosi scored 13 of her game-high 19 points in the opening half as Millard North built an 11-point lead, 26-15, at the break.
The three-pointers started to fall for the Mustangs in the second half, especially off the hand of Elle Danley. The senior hit three of her five threes in the second half to help Millard North to increase its lead over the final two quarters.
Danley finished with 15 points in the win.
“Elle Danely really never scored for us before this season, but she worked so hard in the offseason, her focus on getting her shot better is outstanding,” Diehl said. “For her to finish tonight 5-for-5 is great for this team.”
Kaysia Woods led the Links with 17 points, and her four three-pointers over the first three quarters kept Lincoln High in contention before the Mustangs put their foot down in an 18-9 fourth quarter.
“Millard North is a great team and you can tell that they’ve played a lot of basketball together as a group,” Lincoln High coach Dominique Kelley said. “Today we just got kind of exposed by them. We have to do a better job at rebounding, taking care of the ball and we just have to be more poised than we were tonight.”
The Links will try to rebound next Friday at No. 4 Lincoln Northeast.
Millard North boys 68, Lincoln High 53
The No. 3 Mustangs opened up a 12-point lead in the first quarter against the Links and never looked back.
Millard North senior Mason Jung recorded a game-high 23 points, while Yashua Bradley led the Links with 15.