Searching for a little bit of a second-half spark, Davenport North turned up the heat.
The Wildcats shot a scorching 77.8 percent in the third quarter, including hitting all four 3-point shots they took, to open up a 16-point lead they turned into a 67-49 win on Senior Night at Davenport High School.
Max Taylor led the way on the night, going 7-of-8 from the field, including hitting all four of his 3-point attempts to finish with 20 points and six rebounds on the night.
"My team was just getting buckets and put me in the right position to knock down a shot. My coach is always giving me confidence and my team was behind me every time I shot the ball from deep," said Taylor, who is a 56.4 percent shooter on the season. "Early in the third quarter I knew I had to score a little bit, everybody stepped up, they did what they did and we all played our roles."
It truly was a team effort from the Wildcats. Along with Taylor, Lacey Watson added 20 points and four rebounds and despite battling early foul trouble, VJ Wilmington scored 18 points for North (13-7, 10-7 MAC).
That scoring prowess is what makes the Wildcats feel they'll be a force to be reckoned with when the postseason hits next week.
"We think we can get to state," head coach Joe Ewen said. "We're just starting to get the pieces all together and see how they fit. Tonight they clicked really well."
North hadn't been clicking the past few games. After knocking off Pleasant Valley two weeks ago, the Wildcats had lost a pair of games to Davenport West and North Scott.
Tuesday night they got back to what had been working so well, playing strong defense, taking a 23-18 lead into halftime.
"After our PV win, I think our guys kind of took it for granted, thought, 'OK, here we go, we don't need to work at it,'" Ewen said. "Then we get smacked by North Scott and West and now I think our guys have refocused and realized, even on those games, you've got to bring 110 percent every game or any team will beat you. I think that really helped them refocus and re-lock in."
D.J. Carton scored a game-high 21 points on the night for Bettendorf (8-12, 7-10) but North made him work for it. Carton was 5 of 18 from the field and nine of his points came from the free throw line.
"Communication is key. You talk on defense, then everybody is working as one," Watson said. "If they have one player like that, we have five players that can help counteract that."
For Bettendorf, they're looking for some answers as the postseason looms, having lost five straight. Devynn Wakefield and Trevor Feller each had nine points, with Wakefield adding six rebounds.
"Our perimeter defense wasn't what we wanted it to be or needed it to be. I thought we made some adjustments in the second quarter and defended the arc better but then when we got into our man defense, we didn't close out good enough," Bettendorf head coach Curtis Clark said. "We just need to keep getting better. It's no different from your first game to your last game. You've got to find you're not performing very well, put them into practice and get better."