ELDRIDGE — The North Scott girls basketball team touted its depth as one of its strengths before the start of the season.
It's because of that depth the Class 4A No. 2 Lancers have so far withstood an early test of the season.
North Scott is off to a 4-0 start and utilized its full bench in a 62-35 win over Clinton Thursday night at The Pit. North Scott has played all but one game without four-year starter Rylie Rucker, who suffered a knee injury in the season opener, and has been without Sydney Happel, who averaged 6.0 points per game for the Lancers, all year.
Lancers head coach TJ Case thinks Rucker could be back as early as next week while Happel could be eyeing a January return.
"This is only going to help us as we go on," Case said. "Defensively, we're doing a lot of good things so once our offense clicks in and we get a few of these girls back, it's going to be good."
Still, the Lancers (4-0, 2-0 MAC) haven't missed much of a beat. Grace Boffeli led North Scott with 21 points and 13 rebounds while Chloe Engelkes added 15 points and five rebounds and Sam Scott had 10 points off the bench.
"I think it proves, as a team we're strong and even if we lose one ... I think the rest of us really stepped up and will continue to step up, hopefully," Engelkes said. "It proves how strong the rest of us are, too."
The Lancers led 34-17 at halftime and opened that up to 50-23 after three quarters.
Though it suffered its first loss of the year, Clinton has enjoyed a strong start in its first year under head coach Stacy Clark, now 2-1 on the season and 1-1 in the conference. Even after the Lancers opened the game on a 10-0 run, the River Queens fought back, cutting the lead to 12-6 after the first quarter and showing plenty of positives moving forward.
Megan Gandrup led Clinton with 11 points while Molly Chapman added eight points and sophomore Molly Shannon had five points and a team-high seven rebounds.
"Honestly, I'm just glad we hung in there. Being down 10 there right away kind of hurt us a little bit, and then we found our groove," Clark said. "It was good to see them keep fighting the whole time, even knowing we're down 20, they're still fighting, they're still trying to get the ball and make something happen and that's what you need."