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Bella Sims knew she was going to get Davenport Central's best shot Wednesday night.

"We heard them in the locker room, screaming (before the game)," the Davenport North sophomore guard said.

Central did give North an early run but Sims countered, scoring 17 of her game-high 24 points in the first half to lead the Wildcats to a 86-58 regional-opening win at Davenport North High School.

North (13-8) travels to play Bettendorf in a regional semifinal Saturday at 7 p.m.

"I was just really hyped to end it early," Sims said. "I was really positive with myself when I was first knocking down shots and saw the lane open up."

Sims was 7 of 8 to start the game, helping North overcome an early 11-6 deficit. She finished 9 of 17 from the field but added 10 rebounds and was active all night defensively.

"She's a gamer. When it's on the line, she finds a way to come through," head coach Matt Hoeppner said. "Big night out of her, she controlled the tempo for us all night."

By halftime, North led 44-25 and upped that lead to 64-38 after three quarters. Reese Ranum added 13 points and Bailey Ortega finished with 10 for the Wildcats.

Central started all underclassmen and was led by freshman Adriauna Mayfield, who scored 10 points. The Wildcats (4-17) had 12 different players score, nine of whom will return next year.

"I think we're headed in the right direction," Central head coach Rita Jett said. "We have a lot of things to learn. We shot the ball really well, we shot it consistently in the first and second quarter but when the third quarter came around, we kind of pulled back on our shots."

That youth doesn't overshadow the three seniors on the team, all of whom scored in the game, including McKenna Moore. Moore missed the final six regular season games with a broken collarbone but entered into the regional game in the second half and scored seven points.

Moore was one of nine freshmen on varsity for the Blue Devils four years ago but the only one who stayed with the team all four years.

Despite only winning nine games in that tenure, getting a chance to go out on her own terms was reward enough.

"I didn't know if I was going to be able to finish out the season after spending four years here," Moore said. "It kind of hurt, honestly, but I'm glad I could get some points and finish out my game.

"For four years here, we've grown so much and just to finish it out the way that we did, even though we didn't win, you can see how much growth we've had. To play here for four years, and me growing as just a ball player, it's been really fun."

North now turns its attention to Bettendorf, looking to break through against the Bulldogs after dropping the first two meetings by a combined seven points.

"We've got to come out and execute our stuff, we've got to run our defenses correctly and take care of the players we scout and prep for," Hoeppner said. "If we do our job, hopefully that will take care of itself in the long run."


Sports reporter for the Quad-City Times