LANSING | With first place in the South Suburban Blue at stake, the T.F. North-T.F. South was more than a District 215 rivalry.
There was a good crowd and both teams were pumped up, but it was T.F. North's defense which kicked into high gear early and left but a few skid marks as the Meteors beat Times No. 5 T.F. South 67-48 Thursday night.
With the win, the Meteors (15-9, 11-0) are in the driver's seat for winning the SSC Blue. They play Bremen and Lemont next week and could run the table. This was a team which many wondered if it could play .500 ball.
This was the ninth straight win for North in the series as coach Tim Zasada will finish his career at North never losing to the Rebels. Zasada is stepping down to become the Reavis football coach. South last won in 2004-05.
Chardae Greenlee said North's game plan was like it has been -- force turnovers. North did as it caused T.F. South (14-7, 10-1) to commit 12 first-quarter turnovers.
"My job is to stay as close as I can to the person and put as much pressure as I can," Greenlee said. "That's what we do -- pressure and make the other team make mistakes."
Greenlee was on the Rebels Kaitlin Togtman and in the first half held her to five points and just three shots. Togtman did finish with 15 points.
"We didn't want to let her shoot," Greenlee said. "We knew if we could stop her, we had a chance. We had to keep it out of her hands."
The Rebels did lead 1-0, but that was their last lead as North scored the next 10 points and controlled the first half. The Meteors led 36-14 at halftime.
"Their press was tough, but once we were able to adjust, we were able to get some things going," South's Ninah Bertrand said. "We struggled early and had too many turnovers."
Bertrand finished with 13 points while teammate Ashley Bryant had 12 rebounds.
The Rebels did play better in the second half, outscoring North 34-31.
"We won the second half and that;s what I told them at halftime," South coach Steve Breshock said. "We made some mistakes in the first half, but we came back and played hard."
The Meteors were led by Schenia Battle's 22 points and Sharee Greenlee's 16. Battle said she and her teammates knew what this game meant.
"We thought of it more of a big conference game than a rivalry game because we were both undefeated coming in," Battle said. "We know we had to trap and and not let up. We feel we can win the conference and that is a long way from where we were at the beginning of the season."