Mia Lakstigala and Lucy Schmid had no intentions of dropping a third consecutive game at their own Thanksgiving girls basketball tournament.
"After coming off from two losses, we just tried to go hard," Lakstigala said after Naperville Central defeated Batavia 42-33 at the Redhawks' Tip-Off Tournament. "We were pushing the ball hard and trying to find each other."
With its victory in the third-place game Saturday afternoon in Naperville the Redhawks improved to 3-2.
Batavia, which received a brilliant all-around performance from sophomore Geddy Rerko, fell to 2-3.
Erin Moran scored 5 straight points as part of the Redhawks' 7-point unanswered run to start the game; Batavia never got back to even again the rest of the way.
It was a disastrous first-half shooting performance by the Bulldogs as Naperville Central forced Batavia into missing 22 of its 28 field-goal tries in the first two quarters.
"I think our key defensively is that we stuck them in our 2-3 (zone)," said Schmid, who led both teams with 12 points while tying Lakstigala (11 points) for team rebounding honors with 7. "We had our bigs down low, but we were also very fast on the outside of the ball."
The Bulldogs would improve from the floor in the second half, but Naperville Central still held the club to a 28-percent clip (13-53).
"I think we got it in our heads too much and couldn't get things going like we usually do," said Rerko, who scored 9 of her team-high 11 points after halftime. "We didn't have that same energy that we had in the first few games."
Elena Cabrera had a driving score early in the second quarter to cap a 12-7 Batavia run, but 2 points were as close as the Bulldogs would come the rest of the way.
The teams' coaches had an entirely different substitution pattern as the Bulldogs' Kevin Jensen routinely shuttled in players like a hockey line change.
The Redhawks' Andy Nussbaum was the antithesis.
"We basically had a six-man rotation," Nussbaum said. "That may -- or may not -- change; I don't know. Batavia doesn't let the grass grow. They make you play at a pace."
The Redhawks secured a 23-14 lead after Moran split 2 free throws entering halftime.
Naperville Central stretched its lead to double digits frequently in the third quarter, only to see Batavia make mini-runs. But the Bulldogs could not make any inroads in the end as each team had identical point totals in the third and fourth.
Rerko, however, finished with game highs of 12 rebounds and 4 blocks.
"I personally have that drive of making a defensive stop and blocking balls," Rerko said.
Two-time defending Class 4A champion Benet defeated Oswego East 47-45 in the championship game.