If Thursday night was the final tuneup for the Class 4A girls basketball playoffs, Naperville Central certainly appears ready.
Blitzing host Lake Park with a 21-0 second-quarter run on the Lancers' Senior Night, the Redhawks cruised to a 64-44 victory to close the regular season in Roselle.
The visitors improved to 22-8 on the winter and posted a final mark of 13-3 in the DuPage Valley Conference, good enough for second-place behind champion Wheaton North.
"I was really pleased with how we played," Naperville Central coach Andy Nussbaum said. "We were right there (for the conference title). We want to use the postseason as a chance to redeem ourselves, and when you have 22 wins, you have a pretty good chance to do that. If we play like we did tonight, we will take our chances with that."
The Redhawks put four players in double figures, led by the 22 points of Mia Lakstigala.
"We wanted to end conference on a good note," Lakstigala said. "We just played as hard as we could. We pushed the ball, we were making our shots, which is good, and we played great defense.
"We were really focused out there and our defense translated into our offense. When we are playing at a fast tempo, we seem to play really well."
Naperville Central actually trailed 13-10 late in the first quarter before scoring the next 26 points. Lucy Schmid posted 9 points during the spurt and finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Erin Moran chipped in with 11 points, and Olyvia McGuire totaled 10 points and 8 rebounds.
"You talk about four players in double figures and that is good," Nussbaum said, "but Emame Thompson-Eja did a great job defensively. We knew (Carson) Vance is a good player and I thought she did a super job on her."
Lake Park finished 8-8 in league play after making a charge post-Christmas. For coach Brian Rupp, the finale was more about the seniors than the result.
"We wanted to have fun tonight," Rupp said. "That sounds bad, but there was not a lot riding on this and it was Senior Night. That first quarter was fun. Our top five scorers were all seniors and we have five seniors. That was a cool thing to see. We are not deterred by this, we are looking forward to the tournament."
Sarah Ludwig topped the Lancers (10-16) with 8 points. Madison Race and Jackeline Athanas had 7 apiece and Emily Golab and Nicole Riley scored 5 each. Golab added 11 rebounds.