HOWELL — Novi went into Friday’s game at Howell knowing it needed to stop Howell point guard Lexie Miller.
“She’s ultra-quick,” Novi coach C.J. Aro said. “And they’re a very good team.”
The Wildcats held Miller in check, sort of, limiting her to five points. But she led a Howell offense that scored 27 points in the first quarter en route to an easy 69-41 victory in the Highlanders’ KLAA Gold opener.
While the Wildcats were accounting for Miller, Leah Weslock had 10 and Amanda Corsten seven as Howell (5-0 overall) took a commanding 27-10 lead after the first quarter.
“We’ve been talking about coming out strong,” senior guard Paige Johnson said. “Against Arbor Prep (on Dec. 8), we came out kind of slow. The last couple of days we’ve been coming out, even in workouts, hustling and working hard.”
Miller, whose shots by and large weren’t falling in the first half, got them to fall in the second. She had 13 points in the third quarter and seven more in the fourth to finish with 25. Weslock had 10 points in the second half to finish with 20.
“One thing about this team is that it’s very unselfish,” Olszewski said. “They have one goal, and that’s the win the basketball game they’re playing in that night. They don’t care about ‘It’s my shot,’ or ‘It’s my points.’ They’re about let’s make the next pass or to the next right thing. To have four or five girls out there at a time that think that way is really special.
The scoring pace slowed after the first quarter in part because, with the big lead, coach Tim Olszewski wanted to see things his team had been working on at game speed.
“Some (worked out), some did not, and that’s OK,” he said. “But we’ll get better and better at those things.”
The Highlanders held Novi guard Ellie Mackey to 16 points.
“They’ve got an exceptionally great player,” Olszewski said, referring to Mackay, “and I thought overall we did a nice job as a team, made some adjustments and overall I’m very proud of them.”