CHICAGO, ILL. - The Yellow Jackets battled tough on the final day of the North Park Tournament as the Purple and Gold fell in a tight contest to the Vikings 51-48 on Saturday afternoon.
Defiance (0-3 overall) was led on the day by by senior Lauren Rogers (Munger, Mich./Bay City Central) with a team-best 11 points, while senior Sam Ervin (Bloomdale/Elmwood) grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
As a team, the Yellow Jackets shot 19-of-45 from the field, including seven three pointers.
North Park scored the opening points of the contest before the Yellow Jackets took over claiming the lead off a three-pointer by junior Shelby Stamm (Bellevue) with 8:12 remaining. The offense attack continued for DC as they strung together an 8-0 run capped off by freshman Taylor Day (West Mansfield/North Union) with a layup extending the Defiance advantage to 13-4. Rogers got in on the action late in the period as she connected on back-to-back scores to close out the first period, giving the Yellow Jackets the double digit lead, 18-6.
However, North Park dominated much of the second period as they slowly begin to chip away at the DC lead. They opened the period on a 9-0 run to erase a 12 point deficit that pulled them within 18-15 with 5:58 until the intermission. The Vikings captured the lead moments later as a good free throw gave North Park the 22-21 advantage. The Purple and Gold would score one more time late in the period to enter the break locked a 22-22.
In the third period, the two teams exchanged points for several minutes before NPU connected from behind the arc to take the 31-30 advantage midway through the quarter. However, DC responded connecting for a three-pointer of their own as freshman Nysha Speed (Sterling Heights, Mich./L'Anse Creuse North) hit a long ball to tie the contest once more, 33-33. But again the Vikings found success in the paint hitting a layup as time expired to enter the final period with the slight advantage.
Defiance looked to spark the offense in the fourth quarter as sophomore Kalyn Pickens (Fort Wayne, Ind./R. Nelson Snyder) knotted the score with 6:27 to play intensifying the offense. The two teams continued to battle late before the Vikings were able to seal the game at the free throw line, hitting three straight from the charity stripe for the 51-48 victory.
Head Coach Allan King after the game, "This was a tough loss today after leading most of the way in the first half, even while battling foul trouble we were just unable to finish the game. We had a few chances late that we will learn and grow from and need to be more consistent and fundamentally sound which in return will lead to success."
The Yellow Jackets return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 20 as they travel to Ohio Northern. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. at the ONU Sports Center.