Merrimack falls to North in opener

Taylor Choate knew she was close to a scoring milestone.

Good news for the Nashua High School North senior, she was able to get it out of the way in the season’s first game.

Choate scored a game-high 22 points, setting a school record for most in a career, as she helped the Titans open the year with a 59-47 win Friday night over Merrimack in Division I action. The point total gives Choate 1,037 points, five more than the previous record, which was set by Kelsey Hogan.

“That feels pretty good,” Choate said of the record. “It’s exciting. Sometimes you’re thinking about it too much and you take bad shots. I tried not to think about it too much. I just went out and played and scored.”

Isabel During added 13 points for North (1-0) while Sara Cordova added 12, including three 3-pointers, as the Titans got out to an early 9-0 lead and held on the rest of the way.

“That was important for us because it sets the tone,” North coach Ricky Oliver said. “One of the things we want to do is set the tempo. I look up and its 9-0. The game isn’t over, but we can do the things we need to do.”

Merrimack (0-1) was able to cut the lead down to as few as six or seven points on a handful of occasions, but couldn’t get any closer.

“We have a really athletic group of kids and we talked about playing hard with a lot of heart and a lot of hustle, because that’s what is in your control,” Merrimack coach Courtney Cheetham said. “I thought we did. We went out there, we were a little scared, but I thought we got better as the game went on. You could see us settle in and that hard work and hustle came through.”

Jolie Jacoby led the Tomahawks with 12 points, including two 3-pointers, and Abby Yuan was also in double figures with 10. Both players are freshmen, something that has Cheetham encouraged about what lies ahead for Merrimack.

“It’s the first game, and everybody is in that boat, but we’re young and we’re still implementing the system,” she said. “We started two freshmen (Friday), and a third one was the first one off the bench. The energy in the locker room as the end of the game was fantastic.”