Naperville Central sophomore center Olyvia McGuire was on the bench for the start of Wednesday's Class 4A Joliet Central regional semifinal against Naperville North.
Naperville North wishes she had stayed there.
McGuire came into the game late in the first quarter and led all players with a personal-high 14 points. She also had 6 rebounds and played a major role in holding Huskies 6-foot-4 center Sadie Jurkovic scoreless.
Guard Mia Lakstigala added 12 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals as the Redhawks eliminated Naperville North 43-27.
Fifth-seeded Naperville Central (23-8) will play No. 4 seed Yorkville (25-2), which beat West Aurora 70-53, in Thursday's final.
"I was really excited to play, especially because it's Naperville North and we're in regionals," McGuire said. "So I was really pumped, even though I didn't start, to play as much as I could and be the best that I can be."
McGuire made 6 of 9 shots and was 2 for 4 from the free-throw line. She drained her first shot, a 15-foot jumper off a pass from Maiah DeShazer, to give the Redhawks a 13-3 lead after one quarter.
"She did a really good job on defense and offense," Lakstigala said of McGuire. "She was making her shots, which was really helpful to help us get our momentum.
"When she came in she was really aggressive and that helped us on defense, too, because she held off Sadie and she translated that into the offense."
The Redhawks led by as many as 11 in the second quarter before the Huskies (13-14) pulled within 23-18 on a Lauren Platou layup with 5:30 left in the third quarter.
But McGuire scored on a putback of a missed 3 by Lakstigala, triggering an 8-0 run. She was also instrumental in holding the Huskies scoreless for a 7:07 stretch.
Platou finally broke the drought with a 3 at the 6:23 mark of the fourth quarter, but the damage had been done. It was the seventh time the Redhawks have allowed fewer than 35 points and the third time they've beaten the Huskies this year.
"I believe it was (one of our best defensive performances)," McGuire said. "We all hyped each other up before the game because we knew how important this was. We knew we had to be on our 'A' game, especially defensively."
Morgan Lockridge had 10 points and Platou 8 for Naperville North, which shot just 10 for 47.
"Especially against Sadie I knew I had to be my best because she's my biggest competition," McGuire said. "(Naperville Central coach Andy Nussbaum) told us to make sure we always contested her on the baseline and always guard her, so that is what I did."
Nussbaum wasn't surprised with McGuire's performance.
"Even as a freshman last year I thought Olyvia did a nice job defensively on Sadie and did a nice job at Naperville North also 13 days ago," Nussbaum said. "Naperville North is a dangerous team and we're happy to get a win."