By Joseph Hayes
It was an early season test for each team.
On Senior Night at Port Huron Northern High School, the Huskies met the St. Clair Saints in a key early season match-up.
The Huskies came out strong and after a valiant effort from the Saints, Northern would prevail, 49-34, in a Macomb Area Conference crossover victory.
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The Huskies started fast behind their full court, pressure defense. And if their early possessions were any indicator of things to come, it was apparent that Huskies senior Ally Shagena would be a key factor in the game.
She drove through the lane for an easy basket for the Huskies first points of the game; and then followed that up with another lay-up while being fouled.
By the time she drove the lane late in the first quarter for her third field goal, it was clear what the game would come down to.
Could the Saints handle the Huskies pressure defense? Could St. Clair contain Shagena off the dribble?
Those two questions had a prominent impact during the remainder of the game.
Northern would lead 12-6 at the end of the first quarter and began building a lead in the second quarter, before St. Clair concluded the first half on a run.
That was sparked by two big plays from St. Clair guard Alexis Joshua.
First, Joshua scored on the fast break to bring the Saints within 22-14, with 33 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Then she received a long pass while heading toward the rim and completed a lay up to draw the Saints within, 22-16, at halftime.
Northern would take back command of the game in the third quarter behind its defense and led 32-22 entering the final quarter before pulling away down the stretch.
Ally Shagena led all scorers with 14 points for Northern. Junior Jersey McGregor added 13 points and Camille Keyes scored eight points for the Huskies.
Skye Gottler led St. Clair with 10 points.
Joshua added nine points for the Saints and Christina Bohm scored six.
The Huskies honored the contributions of five seniors before and after the game on Senior Night. Those players included Keyes, Shagena, Jasmine Adame, Riley Kiteley and Zoe Klink.
Each team is now 1-1, with each looking forward to important upcoming rivalry games.
On Monday, Port Huron Northern will travel to Port Huron High, while St. Clair faces Marine City.
Check back with Blue Water Healthy Living for video interviews and highlights of Thursday nights game.