Size advantage leads Port Huron Northern girls basketball past L'Anse Creuse North in district final

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Online Only | Published March 8, 2019

 Macomb L'Anse Creuse North girls basketball coach Bob Johnston watches from the sidelines during a March 6 playoff win. The Crusaders fell one win short of their first district title since 2012, falling 50-38 March 8 to Port Huron Northern in a Division 1 district final.

Macomb L'Anse Creuse North girls basketball coach Bob Johnston watches from the sidelines during a March 6 playoff win. The Crusaders fell one win short of their first district title since 2012, falling 50-38 March 8 to Port Huron Northern in a Division 1 district final.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

 Port Huron Northern senior guard Madison Adair looks to make a play during a March 6 playoff win. Adair hit two 3-pointers in her team's 50-38 March 8 win over Macomb L'Anse Creuse North in a Division 1 district final.

Port Huron Northern senior guard Madison Adair looks to make a play during a March 6 playoff win. Adair hit two 3-pointers in her team's 50-38 March 8 win over Macomb L'Anse Creuse North in a Division 1 district final.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The Port Huron Northern girls basketball team is headed back to the regional round for the first time since 2016.

The Huskies (15-8) bested Macomb L’Anse Creuse North 50-38 in a March 8 Division 1 district final to stay alive.

Northern will face either Clinton Township Chippewa Valley or Utica Ford II in a regional semifinal set for 5 p.m. March 11 at Macomb Dakota.

The Huskies led for the majority of the district final. Northern took a 9-6 lead late in the first quarter on a 3-pointer from senior guard Madison Adair. The Huskies didn’t trail again.

Northern’s size proved too much for the Crusaders, who were after their first district championship since 2012. Many of the Huskies' points came in the paint. Northern also got the benefit of the whistle, shooting 22 free throws to L’Anse Creuse North’s 11, including a 13-4 first-half edge in attempts.

L’Anse Creuse North ends the season at 15-8.

“(Getting the ball inside) was definitely a big part of our game plan,” Northern coach Kevin Landschoot said. “(L’Anse Creuse North) is an excellent defensive team. They do a good job with their help-side defense. We just kept grinding, and we were able to get it done.”

Crusaders coach Bob Johnston said he hoped to pressure Northern for much of the game but was unable to because the Huskies size limited the Crusaders' ability to generate offensive rebounds and second-chance points.

“Credit to Northern. They’re well-coached, and they played well tonight,” Johnston said. “We’re just not big enough."

The Huskies led by as many as 14 points.

Northern 6-foot-2 senior forward Sarah Wight led all scorers with 17 points. Huskies senior forward Sydney Koppinger chipped in with 12 points, including 9 in the second quarter.

Crusaders freshman guard Brooke Daniels scored 16 points, including 12 in the second half. L'Anse Creuse North started three freshmen and a sophomore, along with senior guard Lauren Peraino. Northern started four seniors and a sophomore.

"We're young and inexperienced, but we're tough as nails," Johnston said of his team. "This is where we wanted to be, though. If we’re not back here next year, I’ll be disappointed, and I think the girls will be too.”