Changing of the guard? Northville beats Hartland for first time in girls basketball

HARTLAND — For the first two years of Liv Linden’s Hartland basketball career, there were really only four games on the KLAA West schedule that required the Eagles’ full attention.

Hartland could count on getting tough battles from Livingston County rivals Brighton and Howell, but generally had its way with the other five teams in the division. 스포츠토토

Those days are gone — and Linden is fine with that, even at the risk of outcomes like a 46-42 home-court loss to Northville Friday night.

Hartland hadn’t lost a division game to an opponent not from Livingston County since falling 42-36 to Grand Blanc on Dec. 15, 2017. The Eagles had won 47 straight division games to teams outside of the county since that night.

Hartland began division play with a huge 58-50 victory over Howell on Dec. 22. In the early going, Northville and Brighton are tied for the division lead at 2-0, with four teams tied for third at 1-1.

A Livingston County team has won the KLAA West every season since the league formed in 2008-09, with Grand Blanc being the only outside team to get a share in 2010-11 with Hartland.

This year is a lot different than previous years,” said Linden, who scored a career-high 20 points. “It’s going to be a very competitive year, which I’m excited for; I like competitive games. A lot of teams in this conference are going back and forth with each other. It’s just going to be a very interesting season.”

Northville has been one of the most successful KLAA West programs outside of Livingston County, but had an 0-12 record against Hartland since the league formed. Friday’s victory validated the Mustangs’ status as preseason favorites in the division.

“Hartland’s been dominant for the last 10, 12 years,” Northville coach Todd Gudith said. “They’ve had top-10 teams, D1 players. We’ve had good battles with them over the years. A couple games we had a chance, but usually their talent just overtook us most nights.”

It looked like Hartland (6-3) was on its way to a 13th straight victory over Northville, as the Eagles jumped out to leads of 11-2 and 13-4.

But not only did the Mustangs quickly catch up, taking a 19-16 lead with 6:05 left in the second quarter, but they built a 28-20 lead by halftime.

Senior Sydney Brown was the catalyst for Northville, hitting three 3-pointers in about a four-minute span.

“We just had to settle down,” said Brown, who scored a team-high 15 points. “We had to start playing our game. We had to slow the game down. We didn’t want them to speed us up.”

A key moment during Northville’s rally came when Hartland center Sarah Rekowski picked up her second foul with 7:02 left in the second quarter. The Eagles were leading 16-13 at that stage, with Rekowski scoring six points. Rekowski, who finished with 15 points, didn’t play the rest of the first half.