St. Charles North's girls basketball team has been hit by more than its fair share of injuries in the early going this season, and the North Stars are learning to hit back.
Despite Sami Sample, Anna Tate and Elizabeth Olsem out Tuesday -- all three either starters or rotation players -- the North Stars made their Upstate Eight Conference River season opener a success.
Anna Davern continued the strong start to her junior year with a career-high 22 points and freshman Jazmyn Harmon shined with 13 points, 6 steals and 5 rebounds, leading St. Charles North to a 48-39 win over Batavia.
"We've had a rough start with a lot of injuries and stuff," Davern said. "It's great to see how hard our girls keep working despite that."
First-year coach Mike Tomczak likes the way his team has overcome the obstacles. The North Stars made 8 of 11 shots in the first quarter to open an 18-9 lead they held nearly the rest of the game.
"We've been stricken with a lot of bad luck," Tomczak said. "You can't control injuries and they are part of the game. You wish they wouldn't all come at the same time but they kind of have. We've been practicing with seven, eight bodies and we're making it work."
An early 3-pointer from Hailey Orman put Batavia (2-4, 0-1) up 5-4. Davern quickly answered, starting a 10-2 North Stars run. Megan Gunnink capped the quarter with a 3-pointer.
St. Charles North (4-2, 1-0) struggled in the second quarter, scoring just 4 points, yet stayed strong defensively to take a 22-16 halftime lead.
"We were a little frustrated with ourselves in the second quarter," Tomczak said. "We were prepared for their three-quarter court pressure, but they run it so well that even if you are prepared for it it is still going to give you trouble."
Batavia's best stretch came to start the second half. Trailing 25-20, the Bulldogs scored 7 straight on Geddy Rerko's basket, a 3-pointer by Jenna Laughlin, and Ava Sergio's putback.
The lead didn't last long. St. Charles North responded with an 8-0 surge, starting with Davern's 3-point play.
Harmon followed with a steal she took the other way to assist Davern for a lay-in. A 3-pointer by Kelly Jakaitis made it 33-27.
Batavia closed within 37-33 with 4:44 remaining on Rerko's inside bucket. Davern assisted a cutting Camryn Pozna for a 6-point lead, and back-to-back steals and layups by Harmon helped the North Stars pull away.
"We're still figuring out what works and right now my team is looking to me for a lot of opportunities in the post which have been effective and we'll continue to build on that," Davern said.
Batavia couldn't overcome an off-night shooting, making just 14 of 48 from the field (29.1 percent) and 6 of 14 at the line (42.8). After sinking 24 of 32 free throws in its opener, that has been a problem.
"We had the same inconsistencies we've had from the free throw line for awhile," Batavia coach Kevin Jensen said. "We have to get better. We're having trouble even going one out of two at times.
"The wheels are spinning a little bit. I think there's some of us still feeling the effects from the Oswego East and Benet game."