Appleton North clinches at least share of FVA title

Appleton North's Sydney Levy looks to score against Hortonville during their game Monday. (Doug Ritchay/WLUK)

APPLETON (WLUK) -- It's getting late in the season which means the Appleton North girls basketball team is looking to round into form as it tries to win a second straight Division 1 state title.

Monday night, before the Lightning can even think about a state title, North hosted Hortonville in a key Fox Valley Association game.

A win would clinch North at least a share of the FVA crown and that's exactly what the Lightning did.

Sydney Levy scored 26 points as North held off Hortonville, 69-61. North needs a win Thursday at Appleton West or a Kimberly loss Friday at Appleton West to secure its second straight title.

Photos: Hortonville at Appleton North

"We knew it was a big game and Hortonville's a rival," Levy said. "Definitely a big win, but we still have work to do."

"Fortunately, we have some really smart kids; they made some good calls on their own," North coach Joe Russom said. "Other kids sacrificed time to get this win. That's what it's about, it's about the team."

Monday was also Senior Night for five Lightning players, including Levy and Kari Brekke. Russom called it his favorite night of the season as he says the kids get treated like queens.

"The seniors are pretty impressive," Russom said. "This is a five-kid class ... and it's a special group. We have five excellent leaders. Any five of those can be captains, I trust them. They just have it."

Levy is trying to lead North to state for the third straight season and said it's been quite a career.

"Definitely means a lot to us seniors," Levy said. "This is great program to be a part of the last four years and we have a great coach and a team behind us. It really meant a lot."

North (17-4), ranked No. 5 in the FOX 11 Top 11, had to withstand a 34-point, 14-rebound effort from Hortonville (15-6) sophomore Macy McGlone. Levy liked how the team finished as it gets ready for the postseason.

"I feel like we're finally starting to hit our stride," Levy said. "We have work to do, we're not perfect. I think we're starting to catch that rhythm."

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay