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South Range dominates Niles in rout

NILES — Teams in the Northeast-8 Conference are finishing up the regular season against each other and South Range (8-8) got a big win in Niles on Thursday by stomping the Red Dragons 55-15.

“We’re focused on getting through the second half of the league right now,” said South Range coach Jeffrey Fishel. “We’re not going to look ahead to the tournament yet.

“The nice thing is, with the games we have left, they’ll prepare us for the tournament. That’s why we schedule the way we do. It keeps us focused. Hopefully, it gives us momentum going into the end of February.”

The Raiders had plenty of momentum with a 32-11 halftime lead. Senior Taylor McClish (game-high 13 points) nailed four from downtown, including one at the end of the first quarter and one to start the third and fourth quarters.

“I’ve been going to the gym,” said McClish. “I’ve been working on my shot. I wanted to shoot more threes. Luckily, they fell in tonight. I’m happy about that.

“Our team is starting to play outstanding. We had kind of a rough start to the season. But, now we’re coming together and everything is working well.”

Senior Emma Cunningham (11 points) and junior Devin Sauerwein (9 points) each had a steal and layup as the Raiders built a 47-12 advantage heading to the fourth.

“We didn’t know how this season was going to go because we didn’t have some of the players that we had in the past,” Sauerwein said. “I feel like we’ve really come together as a team. If we play defense, and we play to our capability, I think we can go far.”

Junior Madison Dado drilled a 3-pointer from the corner. Dado found Sauerwein for an easy basket and then sophomore Ella Crumbacher completed an and-one as South Range finished off Niles.

Sophomore Hannah Grimm pulled down a rebound and scored for the Red Dragons. Senior Abbey Reed (team-high 7 points) blocked one underneath the hoop then rebounded the ball and had a nice assist to junior Brooke Money for a 3-pointer.

“We’re working on the mental side of the game,” Niles coach Bernard Bolha said. “We’re trying to get ready for the tournament. We know we’ll be playing a tough team in the tournament. So, we have to mentally get ready for that.

“South Range is a good team. I wish them luck. Their kids are hardworking and polite. We tried and hustled. We’re just not there yet. They shot the ball very well today. They deserved to win.”

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