Naperville Central coach Andy Nussbaum thought senior forward Katie Moran might be ready for a big game.
Moran delivered 22 points Saturday afternoon in Naperville, hitting four 3-pointers to help the Redhawks defeat visiting Glenbard North 55-47 in DuPage Valley Conference girls basketball action.
"Moran was outstanding," Nussbaum said. "This is her best career game ever. She was a little frustrated after Thursday night. I just said, you know, you are doing what I am asking you to do. You are doing your best, and so good things are going to continue to happen."
Those good things came primarily in the second quarter. Trailing 6-5 to start the period, Naperville Central (5-13, 2-3) outscored the Panthers 22-9 in the second with Moran scoring 10.
"It just seemed to click," Nussbaum said of the second quarter. "We played as a team. We distributed the ball. I can't think of a bad shot that we took in the second quarter. We missed some that maybe we should make but made more than usual. It was a good quarter for us. And I thought the second half was good too."
"My teammates got me the ball and it went in," Moran said of her big day. "That's just what happened."
One of those teammates was junior guard Emily Kraft, who did a little of everything in the second quarter, grabbing 4 rebounds, dishing 4 assists, grabbing a couple of steals and hitting a pair of 3-pointers, including one that beat the buzzer to signal halftime. Kraft finished with 10 points.
"Kraft just saw me, and we were just in the right spot at the right time," Moran said. "It really worked for us."
It worked against Glenbard North.
"By the same token we're taking (Moran) away, now that throws us off defensively and the other things we're doing and they're getting to the rim," Panthers coach John Chamberlain said. "That was definitely a turning point with her hitting some shots."
Nussbaum was impressed with the his team's effort overall.
"I thought Casey Smith gave us some good minutes," he said. "I thought Haley (Minick) did a nice job. I thought Emily did a nice job for us. Hitting that 3 at the end of the first half was kind of a big shot. I thought Shannon (Ryan) did a lot of little things that people don't notice, especially helping us bring the ball across on the press that they threw on us in the fourth quarter and just good defensive stuff."
Meanwhile, sophomore guard Jennifer Deegan was carrying Glenbard North offensively. She scored the Panthers' first 8 points and finished with 22. She also grabbed 9 rebounds.
"She's a really great player," Moran said of Deegan. "We weren't able to stop her the first half. She works really hard, offense and defense. We really tried hard to stop her."
The Naperville Central lead peaked at 14 points, but Glenbard North (5-12, 0-5) chipped it down to 7 points a few times in the fourth quarter.
"It was a little bit of a glass ceiling there. We couldn't quite cut it to 3 or 4, get that big bucket that we needed," Chamberlain said. "We just never really had the momentum, and I guess the second quarter is what really did us in. They just got hot shooting and got a 22-point quarter on us, and we just can't give that up."
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