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Article updated: 12/26/2011 9:35 PM
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Naperville Central falls to .500
 

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Naperville Central falls to .500
 

For the rest of the 29th annual Charger Classic Christmas Tournament at Dundee-Crown, Naperville Central coach Andy Nussbaum is more concerned about something else other than winning.

"I don't care if we even win, we just need to play better," Nussbaum said after his team fell 41-20 to Evanston in Monday's first round. "We are certainly not getting out of ourselves what we need to get."

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The Redhawks (6-6) get Regina Dominican in the consolation quarterfinals at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Evanston (7-6) got a berth in the winner's bracket quarterfinals (5 p.m.) against New Trier (10-2), which topped Regina 53-27.

The Wildkits produced what first-year coach Elliot Whitefield called their best defensive game "execution-wise" with a pressuring man-to-man defense.

The Wildkits surrendered only 2 points in the first 11:30 of the game -- a layup by junior forward Victoria Trowbridge with 6:17 left in the first period.

Evanston led 9-2 after one quarter and 13-2 when Trowbridge scored again by driving between two defenders for a bank shot with 4:26 left in the first half.

Senior Jill D'Amico added a free throw and senior Emma Donahue scored on a fastbreak layup for Naperville Central's only other points in the first half, and it trailed 20-7 at the break.

Evanston, led by sophomore Sierra Clayborn's 12 points and 8 apiece from senior Sinclair Cunningham and junior Alecia Cooley, scored the first 9 points of the second half for a 29-7 advantage with 2:39 left in the third quarter.

Nussbaum brought in five new players with 1:52 left in the period.

"I don't think defense was the problem," said the veteran coach, who won Charger Classic titles in 2002 and 2003. "To hold a team to 20 points at half, that's good enough to win a lot of games. I'm just guessing, but I think about 14 of their points came on rebound baskets. We just didn't play well offensively."

Junior forward Laura Dierking's 6 points, all in the second half, were tops for the Redhawks.

"I thought Laura showed some real spark out there," Nussbaum said. "She was playing hard to the end.

"But offensively we just didn't handle their pressure and didn't make shots we should have made. I don't really have a valid explanation."

Whitefield would also like to see better offense from his team.

"That's the story of our lives," he said. "We have struggled to score sometimes, but we have gotten better. We didn't get much off our transition game today.

"But we played great team defense. Our weakside help was outstanding. The pressure we put on the perimeter sort of took away their post play."

Cunningham pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.

"We stopped fouling and played defense," Cunningham said of the Wildkits' opening-round win. "We had great help defense, too, and we ran the floor.

"We just want to prove people wrong who thought we couldn't do it because we have a new team and a new coach. As long as we keep playing hard and don't commit fouls, we think we can play with anyone here. We want to keep proving ourselves."

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