Naperville North picked a great time for a great girls basketball win, and the Huskies can savor the moment for some time.
Trailing Benet 60-54 with less than four minutes to play, Naperville North went on a 12-0 run to turn the game around on their way to a 69-64 defeat of the Redwings to close out their holiday play at the Naperville North/Benet Holiday Tournament.
Morganne Freeman had 21 points, and Kayla Sharples had a monstrous second half as the Huskies rallied to beat their rivals and take a 9-6 record into the holiday break.
"It feels so good, especially going into the winter break," said Freeman, who led all scorers with 15 points in the first half and added 11 rebounds in the win that gave the Huskies a 3-2 mark in the tourney. "It feels like an early Christmas present."
With the Huskies playing solid defense and winning the rebounding battle thanks in large part to Freeman, Sharples and Cece Pope, the 10-6 Redwings never really looked smooth on offense but led much of the game as Emily Eshoo knocked down four 3-pointers on her way to 26 points.
Emily Schramek, meanwhile, was not on top of her game for the Redwings but did hit a pair of timely 3s. Her first basket of the night was a long-range jumper that put Benet on top 33-31 at the half, and then her other three points came following a Huskies turnover and gave Benet that 60-54 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
But that's when Sharples took over the game, starting with a three-point play following an offensive rebound and then adding a pair of strong drives to the basket and a pair of free throws. She tallied 7 of her game-high 28 points during the critical late run.
"Give Naperville North credit, they just took it to us," said Benet coach Peter Paul, whose team also went 3-2 at the tourney. "We needed somebody to at least help slow Sharples down, but she had an outstanding game for them."
Point guard Kathleen Doyle had 18 points for the Redwings and helped pressure Naperville North into 7 first-quarter turnovers as Benet led 20-15 after eight minutes of play. But the Huskies defense got stingier after that quarter and a 33-20 advantage on the glass also helped the home team earn the hard-fought win.
"We could not be more proud of the girls," Naperville North coach Jason Dycus said. "What a great win for our program. To beat an outstanding program like Benet and go into the holiday break this way is just great."
Sharples, who had 21 points the final two quarters, added: "We wanted to win so bad. We hadn't beaten Benet in a long time, so we just kept pushing."
Wheaton Warrenville South won the tournament championship with a 58-40 victory against Providence. The Tigers went 5-0 in the tournament.