The Davenport North girls basketball team had been metaphorically punched in the mouth.
Visiting Davenport Assumption had rallied from a 16-point second-half deficit and tied Friday’s Mississippi Athletic Conference contest.
But North’s Camry Dillie wasn’t fazed. She’d already been hit in the face this week.
Playing with a protective mask after possibly fracturing her nose in Tuesday’s game at Bettendorf, Dillie hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to lift the Wildcats to a 54-49 win over the 14th-ranked Knights.
“It didn’t really affect my vision much,” Dillie said of the mask. “I was going to play no matter what. If they told me I couldn’t, I would have been like, ‘I have to. I have to play for the team.’”
After Assumption’s Chaney Steffen made a pair of free throws to tie Friday’s game, North’s Bella Sims found Dillie alone in the corner. Dillie drained the 3-pointer with 5 minutes, 24 seconds remaining to give the Wildcats (8-5, 7-4 MAC) the lead for good.
“We’re always told to spot up on the sides because we know Bella will drive,” said Dillie, who finished with a game-high 17 points. “It was just a great find by her, and I was just able to sink the shot to put us in the lead.”
Dillie added another 3-pointer, this one a deep shot on another feed from Sims, a few seconds later to extend the lead to six.
Assumption (8-6, 7-4 MAC) had one last chance to tie, but Allie Timmons’ 3-point attempt in the closing seconds was off the mark.
Timmons had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Knights, who saw their seven-game win streak snapped. Lauren Herrig added 12 points, and Olivia Wardlow had 11.
Reese Ranum added 10 points and eight rebounds for North.
The Knights trailed by as many as 19 points in the first half, but they closed the first half on a 10-0 run to trim North’s lead to 31-22 at the break. The Wildcats extended their lead back to 16 points late in the third quarter, but Assumption forced eight straight North turnovers during a 16-0 run that tied the game early in the fourth. The Knights even briefly held a lead before Dillie’s long-distance shots gave North the lead for good.
“In the first half we came out really flat all around. Defensively, offensively, everything,” Assumption head coach Katelyn McNamara said. “We weren’t playing well together at all. We weren’t following the game plan. But they really stepped up. I think we were down by 19 at one point. To come back and tie it up and take the lead, that shows a lot of heart. We played hard there in the second half.”
North head coach Matt Hoeppner was also proud of the determination of his squad.
“For maybe the first time all year, our kids responded when a good team punched them in the mouth,” he said. “There were too many times earlier this year where another good team would punch us in the mouth and we would kind of lay back a little bit. Tonight we came fighting back every time it happened.”