After giving up far too many open shots in its last two games, the North Carroll boys basketball team spent three full practices working on defense.
Forcing one turnover after the next, North Carroll cruised to a 66-41 victory against rival Manchester Valley on Tuesday night.
Senior Drew Schlossenberg had a game-high 16 points for North Carroll and Bo Schene had 13. But it was North Carroll's ability to pressure the Manchester Valley guards into turnovers that proved most decisive.
This was a marked improvement from the previous two games. The Panthers surrendered an average of 85.5 points to Francis Scott Key and Winters Mill.
"Team chemistry won us that game," said Schlossenberg, who also credited the North Carroll student section for making the short drive and filling the visitor bleachers.
Manchester Valley (1-10, 0-6 county) turned to a young backcourt of freshman Dayne Koontz and sophomore Christian Krauch for extended periods of the second half. After Koontz hit a third-quarter 3-pointer, the student section chanted "he's a freshman."
No Manchester Valley player scored in double figures. Bailey Unkart and Dan Johnston each had eight points.
The Panthers (4-8, 2-4 county) left the court smiling, picking up a needed win over their rivals. North Carroll had lost three straight. This was North Carroll's first win of 2016, one made possible with backcourt pressure on defense.
"To play better defense," Vaughn said, "that was our main goal."