Tuesday , January 23, 2018 - 9:27 PM
CLEARFIELD — Northridge center Lydia Mashburn missed practice this week to be with her family when they picked up her brother from a church mission.
Coming off the bench, Mashburn then made it her mission to help the Knights ground the Clearfield Falcons as Region 1 began its second half of play.
Led by Mashburn, Northridge got off to a fast start, then frittered away most of a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter before roaring back in the final minutes to capture the season-series against the Falcons with a 51-42 road victory.
“I’ve started every other game, but (Northridge coach Chris Smith) didn’t feel like he can start you if you miss practice,” Mashburn said. “He told me you can’t start, but I figured I would still play and I don’t really care about starting; I just care about playing.”
Making up for lost time, Mashburn buried a trio of 3-pointers in the second quarter, had 14 points in the first half on the way to a team-high 16, and added four assists and two steals as Northridge rolled to a 25-13 halftime lead.
“I was so relaxed and there was no pressure, and when that first one went down, I kind of felt it and just kept shooting and they kept going in,” Mashburn said. “The basket just felt so big, like everything felt right. Clearfield is my biggest rival and I love playing against them.”
The Falcons did not go down quietly and fought back to 38-36 on a pair of free throws by Haylie Anderson with 1:52 remaining in the game.
But senior guard Abigail Neff, who had five points in the initial period — and finished with 12 — scored her other seven points on a 3 and four free throws in the closing seconds to finally put away the Falcons.
“I went in pretty confident. I know a lot of girls from Clearfield and it really fires me up; I don’t want to make them mad, but I want to win,” Neff said. “I know if we get going with that fire, that everyone else will start off strong as well.
“When it got too close for comfort, I knew someone had to come through in the clutch and with the beginning of the game, the confidence stayed with me.”
Northridge (13-2 overall, 5-2 Region 1) won the first game with Clearfield (8-7, 3-4) by 16 points in December and sits second in league standings, a half-game up on Layton (Friday’s opponent), while the Falcons slipped into a fourth-place tie with Weber.
“It was not as easy. I knew it was going to be more difficult,” Smith said. “Number one, we’re at their place, and two, this is as important to them as it is to us. They’re going to come out and battle.”
Jessica Petersen had a double-double for the Knights with 10 points and 10 rebounds, adding three steals.
The Falcons were led by Anderson’s 16 points, including 9 of 12 from the free-throw line, while Kiersten Boyack netted 10 and Jill Thalman checked in with nine.
Smith had to change his starting lineup with Mashburn coming off the bench, but saw a silver lining.
“She had some personal stuff. We’ve got policies and you have to enforce the rules. She missed practice for a good reason, but I can’t come back and start her. We brought her off the bench and she played big minutes and did a great job. Maybe we’ll have to pull her off the bench more often.”
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