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Finishing with a 2-2 record in the 31st annual Charger Classic at Dundee-Crown doesn't sound like much on the surface.
Dig a little deeper, however, and splitting 4 tournament games is a big deal for St. Charles North's girls basketball team.
The North Stars earned an 11th-place showing in the prestigious 16-team tourney with Monday afternoon's 63-53 victory over defending tournament runner-up finisher Naperville Central (4-12).
St. Charles North (8-9), which already matched last year's entire victory total through just 17 games, built a 33-22 halftime lead before squandering it away in the third quarter.
Guards Hannah Swarm (11 points) and Emily Kraft combined to hit five 3-pointers in the first 5-plus minutes of the third quarter as the Redhawks turned an 11-point deficit into a 3-point lead at 40-37.
"We knew they were going to come out and shoot the ball (in the second half)," said North Stars first-year coach Sean Masoncup. "They couldn't shoot as bad as they did in the first half (4-for-18 from beyond the arc)."
Swarm connected on three 3-pointers while Kraft added a pair of long-range baskets in the third quarter after the Redhawks' duo misfired on all 7 of their first-half field-goal attempts.
"We had a great third quarter," said Redhawks coach Andy Nussbaum, who guided the team to back-to-back Dundee-Crown titles in 2002 and 2003. "I thought Swarm and Kraft were on fire in the third quarter. That's the way we want to play."
St. Charles North answered the challenge as sophomore guard Kyla Helsel (10 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists) drained a 3-pointer of her own to give the North Stars a 43-42 lead after 3 quarters.
Naperville Central grabbed its last lead of the game at 44-43 on a layup by junior center Haley Minick with 7:12 remaining.
From there, the North Stars went on a 15-5 run to take control, fueled by back-to-back 3-pointers from junior guard Sam Novak (11 points, 4 assists) and a 3-point play from junior forward Nichole Davidson (22 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals).
"It's a sign we're growing as a team that we can withstand those runs," said Masoncup, whose team will return to action on Jan. 10 against Geneva. "They're starting to become a little more mentally tough."
"We had to work together and stay together as a team because if you start falling apart your whole team is going to fall apart," said Helsel. "I think we stuck together as a team and that's why we were able to come back."
Junior guard Ashling Davern added 10 points and a significant hustle play as she raced toward the scorer's table to save the ball from going out of bounds in the last 2 minutes.
"Ashling made the biggest play of the game when she chased that ball down," said Masoncup. "If we can have everybody play with that type of intensity for four quarters we're a tough team."
While being outrebounded 49-35, the North Stars won the turnover battle, 10-15.
"We're starting to get the big picture," said Masoncup. "Now we've got to start to focus on the little things like boxing out and taking a charge.
"I was proud of the effort today. To go 2-2 in this tournament -- that's great."
Minick came off the bench to pace the Redhawks with 12 points, 15 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
"I thought Haley had her best game of the year," said Nussbaum. "She had 15 boards in probably 22 minutes (of playing time).
"We've got two nonconference and 11 conference games left," added Nussbaum. "We want to finish high and be the best we can be in February."