ELDRIDGE — North Scott knows defense will be the key to its title defense.
Because there's not much doubt the offense will be there.
Led by Grace Boffeli's career-high 37 points, the Class 4A top-ranked and defending state champion Lancers held off Cedar Rapids Kennedy 69-61 in their season opener at The Pit.
"Even when things are going bad, we've just got to keep fighting and get some grit in ourselves," Boffeli said. "When they're scoring like Kennedy — props to them, they have an amazing offense — we've just got to keep fighting."
The Cougars pushed back every time North Scott threatened to make a run, trimming the lead to 58-56 with 4 minutes, 59 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
But Boffeli took the game over down the stretch, with the UNI signee scoring the game's next seven points to put the Lancers up 65-56 with under two minutes left.
"Our ball movement was good tonight and it led to open shots and open looks," said Boffeli, who added 11 rebounds. "When we're patient on offense, that's when everything opens. That's when the passes come and that's when the finishes and layups come."
You have free articles remaining.
Senior guard Presley Case added 12 points and nine rebounds while Adriane Latham was a big part of that ball movement, with a team-high seven assists.
"We all learned we need to stay together as a team and not one person can do it all," Latham said. "We need to all work together and help key in on certain individuals in order to succeed. We are focusing on that in practice and we know that our offense will be there, we just need to focus on our defense."
The Lancers (1-0) opened the game on a 5-0 run before Kennedy got on the board, the Cougars taking an 18-17 lead after the first quarter. The second quarter featured plenty of offense, with North Scott edging out a 41-39 lead thanks to three straight points from Boffeli to end the half.
Still, the Cougars fought back, taking a 50-49 lead on a basket from freshman Kaliyah Sain with 1:55 left in the third quarter. Boffeli answered with an and-1 30 seconds later and North Scott never trailed again.
Sain finished with 16 points but left in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. Sadie Powell added 12 points and five rebounds for Kennedy (0-1).
"We couldn't guard her," North Scott head coach TJ Case said of Sain. "Adriane was doing all she could do on her."
It was a good test for the Lancers, as well as a reminder of the effort they'll likely face all year from their opponents as they try to get back to Des Moines.
"This was great but I think to be honest with you, that's a really good team," head coach TJ Case said. "I thought early in the game, the first half, they outworked us. They wanted that loose ball so we definitely need to find another gear."