By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The Streetsboro girls basketball team scored a big Metro Athletic Conference victory on Friday, topping the Norton Panthers 45-38 in Streetsboro.
The showdown featured the top two teams in the league, with both the Rockets and Panthers entering Friday’s contest with undefeated league records.
The two teams battled throughout the entire game, with the Rockets holding a lead for the majority of the game and junior Naomi Benson coming through in the clutch, scoring 16 of Streetsboro’s 23 second-half points.
“I am very proud of our girls for playing hard,” Streetsboro head coach Carl Singer said. “It’s really the first close game we have been in so to be able to finish the win, in that environment, is a great learning experience.”
The win lifts Streetsboro to 8-1 overall and 7-0 in league play, with the team’s only loss coming to Copley.
Benson finished the game with 20 points and 16 rebounds, with her rebound total helping lift her career total to a new career school record.
The previous mark had been held by Michelle Poston with 741.
“Naomi is a special player that puts so much work into her game that she is confident in clutch situations,” Singer said. “She knew she needed to step up in the second half to make sure we would get the win, and she did just that. She made plays for us the whole game and continues to improve every time she goes out there.”
After a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter, Streetsboro narrowly pulled ahead 22-19 by halftime and also held a 35-30 lead after the third quarter.
“It is definitely a big win for us, as we have now completed our first time through the league undefeated,” Singer said. “With us beating them at our place last season, it gave us a lot of confidence, but we feel like we are an improved team this year. We will continue to take it one game at a time and just keep improving.
Norton is now 6-3 overall and 6-1 in the MAC.
The two teams will match up again on Jan. 16 at Norton.