Naperville North looked like it was going to give Naperville Central a scare Thursday night until Mia Lakstigala went into attack mode.
Lakstigala scored 11 of her game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter, all of them on drives to the basket, to lead the visiting Redhawks to a key 59-48 DuPage Valley Conference girls basketball victory.
With the win Naperville Central (21-7, 12-2) swept the season series from the Huskies. More importantly, the Redhawks kept their slim DVC title hopes alive heading into Saturday's showdown with league leader Wheaton North.
"They started to decrease our lead, so I just thought that maybe if I kept driving and taking it at them then maybe we could get the lead up again," Lakstigala said. "I would attack and the ball would go in but also my teammates were scoring too. So all-around we were all doing pretty good."
The Redhawks used a balanced attack to slowly build a lead that reached 42-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
That forced the Huskies (11-12, 6-8) to come out of their zone defense. It wasn't a problem at first as the hosts scored the first 7 points of the final quarter.
Junior guard Lauren Platou tallied 8 of her team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer and layup sandwiched around a Sadie Jurkovic inside basket, to pull the Huskies within 42-35.
That forced the Redhawks to call a timeout.
"We called time out and said we've got to get stops," Naperville Central coach Andy Nussbaum said.
The Redhawks eventually did get a few, but it was the offense that turned up the heat on the Huskies.
First, Lakstigala drove the lane and fed center Olyvia McGuire for a basket. After Chloe Kotrba hit a jumper for the Huskies, Lakstigala scored her team's next 10 points on four slashes to the basket, two of which resulted in three-point plays.
That enabled the Redhawks to regain their 14-point lead with 3:43 left.
"When we took our game to more of an up-tempo level, where we just grabbed rebounds and we started pushing the ball, that really helped us build the lead," Lakstigala said. "Olyvia scored a basket and that's when it started."
Lakstigala shot 6 for 7 in the second half and also had 5 assists and 3 steals.
"When they go man-to-man, she's tough to contain," Nussbaum said. "When it's zone it's a lot different for her, so getting a lead and maintaining a lead was kind of a key deal.
"They got out of the zone in the fourth quarter because we were up 14. Going man will create more possessions for them, but she made a lot of good shots."
Lucy Schmid added 10 points, including 2 key 3-pointers, while McGuire hit her first 3 shots and finished with 8 points and 7 rebounds. Erin Moran and Maiah DeShazer each added 6 points for the Redhawks.
"Lakstigala is a ton," Naperville North coach Jason Dycus said. "I felt like any time we made a run, they responded right back and that's what good teams do. It's why they're 21-7.
"But I feel like we're improving and we're competing."