LETTING RIP: Northwestern guard Tiffany Ploughe lets fly as she sinks a 3-point basket Friday in her squad’s game against Southwood. Ploughe hit five triples and scored 17 points to help Northwestern thrash visiting Southwood.

Revenge came swiftly Friday night for Northwestern’s girls basketball team.

The Purple Tigers stumbled to a one-point loss a year ago at Southwood and the loss left a bitter taste. Friday night, Southwood posted its exact same point total, but it wasn’t nearly enough to stop Northwestern, which won in a landslide, 87-35.

“We went up to Southwood a year ago and just played about as flat a game as we could ever play and let a team beat us that we didn’t think should ever beat us,” Northwestern coach Mike McCroskey said. “The kids were pretty focused to make sure that didn’t happen again.”

Class 2A No. 10-ranked Northwestern left no doubt about its dominance, opening up a 21-6 lead after one frame and expanding its lead from there. Forward Audrey Gaither was the ringleader, moving with aggression in the halfcourt and in transition to score 22 points, grab eight rebounds and dish out five assists.

“Audrey Gaither had an unbelievable game,” McCroskey said. “She started it really, going to the bucket hard. Our No. 1 offense in man offense is go to the bucket. There’s no question that broke them down defensively and then they started sagging off and then Tiffany [Ploughe] went nuts with a bunch of 3s, and then Lauren [Giesecke] hit one there and down the stretch Adria [Snoddy] got hot and hit several.”

The Tigers (3-0) went inside early as Natalie Appelhans scored six of her 11 points in the first quarter. Then the outside opened up. Ploughe hit four triples in the first half and finished with 17 points. Giesecke added 13 points and hit three treys. And Snoddy came off the bench in the second half to score nine points, all on 3-balls.

In addition, the Tigers scored five transition buckets in the first half to help post a 45-14 lead.

“They have a great combination of size and quickness. We couldn’t match that,” Southwood coach Rod Cole said. “And of course, they shot extremely well.”

The Tigers sizzled offensively, connecting on 33 of 70 shots and committing just seven turnovers.

Defensively, Northwestern forced Southwood to 24 turnovers and neutralized lead guard Hannah Lengel. McCroskey praised the team, especially Annelise Tarkington, for their defense against Lengel.

“Hannah Lengel runs that team and she’s going to have dreams of Annie Tarkington tonight,” McCroskey said. “Annie just absolutely shut her down. She didn’t get her first points until right before the half. If you take her out of their offense, they just don’t do much.”

Center Sarah Lowther led the Knights (1-1) with 18 points.

For Northwestern, Becki Lowden, Sarah Lubben and Jackie Combs each scored four points. Combs also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.

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