Wangerin, Eagles torch Jets in district
POWERS – Stephenson used a record setting night from Tori Wangerin to soar past North Central 63-29 in Monday night’s Class D district opener.
The senior guard erupted for a game-high 27 points as she set Stephenson’s single season scoring record and career scoring record. Wangerin set the single season record on a lay-up with 5:03 remaining in the second quarter and set the school mark less than two minutes into the third quarter after taking a steal coast-to-coast.
“It feels good to have accomplished it,” said Wangerin. “I knew it was coming and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I just kept working hard and it finally came. I couldn’t have done it without the support from my teammates, my family, my coach; couldn’t have done it without them.”
The four year starter also added 13 rebounds and six assists to help pace the Eagles attack. The Stephenson scoring record hadn’t been touched since Chris Stage, formerly Chris Sullivan, set it in 1983.
Eagles head coach Mark Simon had nothing but praise for Wangerin’s leadership and performance.
“Tiffany deserves everything she gets,” Simon said. “I’ve played at all levels, including professionally and she’s the best team leader that I’ve ever been around. Not only is she a wonderful player but she’s a beautiful person. I can’t say enough about her.”
Tiffany got the Eagles off and flying on their first possession as she buried a 3-pointer. Stephenson jumped out of the gates with a 15-2 lead and finished the quarter on a buzzer beating lay-up from Tiffany to take a 23-8 lead. North Central came out in a zone and the Eagles were letting it fly from deep, as they shot 3-of-21 from beyond the arc.
“Everybody has the green light and if you miss I don’t care,” Simon said. “I want everybody to shoot because of how well we offensive rebound.
“Get it up in the air and crash the house.”
The three pointers weren’t falling but the strategy worked, as the Eagles collected 23 offensive rebounds and scored on multiple put-backs underneath.
Stephenson used their quick ball movement to disrupt the Jets zone. Three players scored in double figures for the Eagles, who shot 25-for-71 from the field.
“We treat that ball like a hot potato, we don’t hang onto it very long,” Simon said. “The overall hands on our team is very good. We don’t have anybody with bad hands, so we pop it around pretty well.”
It was the final game for North Central seniors Kennedy Faccio, Morgan Wells and Kelsey LaBonte. First year head coach Tyler Swanson said the group left a strong foundation for the team to build off of in the years to come.
“They played a heck of a year for us, it was a struggle for us at times but we were really proud of the way that they played,” Swanson noted. “They set a good example for the rest of our girls to follow. They can be proud of themselves walking out of this gym tonight. They might have lost but they lost to a really good team and they can be proud of the way they played all year.”
Morgan, in her last game as a Jet, led her team with nine points. She battled foul trouble early but remained active on the defense end, recording several blocks. Faccio added four points and LaBonte chipped in three points.
“We’re building, there is a foundation here,” Swanson said. “The seniors that we had this year, they set a good example. We’re going to hit it hard this summer and hopefully comeback stronger in the future.”
Lexi Johnson netted nine points and 10 boards for the Eagles. Karlina Johnson added 11 points, six rebounds and six steals. Tori Wangerin left early in the first quarter with an ankle injury. Her status for Wednesday is unknown.
North Central finishes the season 8-13. Stephenson improves to 18-2. They continue district play against Carney-Nadeau at Carney on Wednesday.