Another fluid performance for Wheeling

During a time out in Friday's girls basketball game between Wheeling and visiting Niles North, announcer Mike Burke informed the crowd of Wildcats senior Theresa Godlewski's stellar ninth-place qualifying effort in the 50-yard freestyle of the state swimming preliminaries earlier in the day.

Meanwhile on the basketball floor, things could not have gone more swimmingly for the Wildcats.

Even the bench made a big splash as coach Matt Weber watched his club lead nearly start to finish in 66-34 victory in an opening-round game of the Niles North Thanksgiving tournament.

"The bench did a great job," said Weber, whose team improved to 2-0 overall. "A lot of people came into the game, like Nicole (Zlotnikova), Coco (Yoshino) and Michaela (Vasey), and we didn't lose a beat.

"That's the main thing - that we don't stream off our game plan, and it's a credit to those kids who came in and provided all their hard work."

Yoshino's 3-pointer with 3:50 left in the game gave her a career-high 7 points. the sophomore guard also contributed key minutes in the first half as well.

"I love playing with my teammates," Yoshino said. "It's good that we are all on the same page. We are all there for each other."

Deanna Kuzmanic was there as usual to provide plenty of offensive punch, scoring a game-high 22 points with 6 rebounds. Her back-to-back 14-footer from the side and driving bank shot gave the Wildcats a 12-5 lead after one quarter.

"She's good," said Niles North coach Dan Paxson of the Alabama-Birmingham recruit. "We knew that coming into the game."

"She's amazing," Yoshino said of her teammate, a four-year starter. "She's a great leader and a great teammate. She's I always there to help us."

Senior Lani Greenberg helped the Wildcats gain early lead by hitting three 10-footers for 6 of the Wildcats first 8 points.

"Everyone did a little bit," Greenberg said. "It's cool to see the players on the bench come in and contributing so well. Coco did amazing. She puts in a lot of effort and it clearly paid off."

Sophomore Melissa Craver paid dividends with her versatile inside-outside game, collecting a career-high 9 points. The second-year varsity player scored 7 of her 9 points in the second half and also finished with 7 rebounds.

"We said at the beginning of the game we wanted to come out with a lot of energy," Weber said. "We have a lot of different strengths like getting the ball in the low post to Lani or Melissa Craver working an outside-inside game and getting to the hoop quickly.

"When those things work together it helps to go against the opponents' weaknesses."

Hailey Dammier added 7 points and 7 rebounds for Wheeling while Hannah Dobrowski contributed 6 points.

Zlotnikova, Imani Evans and Shannon Kennedy also made the scoring column for Wheeling which swings right back with a 4 p.m. date today against Taft.

The Vikings were led by junior Stephanie Donado (14 points) and Keinya Jones (10).

"What we really hurt us was that we never got into a rhythm and turned the ball over too much early," Paxson said.

"I don't think we ever reversed the ball in the first quarter. I know it was our first game but we just didn't play well from the get-go. I thought we brought more energy in the second half but it was too late."

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