Andy Nussbaum can't remember the last time Naperville Central went undefeated through a DuPage Valley Conference girls basketball season.
"You might have to go back to the Candace Parker days," he said. "It's been awhile that we've even gone through the first half unbeaten. I like where we're at. We're in good shape. But we're not done yet."
Mia Lakstigala had 25 points, including 21 in the first half, and 6-1 junior Lucy Schmid added 11 points as Naperville Central (18-4) completed the first leg of the DVC campaign with a 7-0 mark by beating visiting Naperville North 65-43 on Thursday.
"We never take any team lightly and today we just wanted to make sure that we worked our hardest, and I think we did a good job picking up the energy throughout the entire game," Lakstigala said.
"We were all excited for this rivalry game and we're also trying to stay undefeated in the DVC," she added. "But we're trying to take it game by game."
Thursday's was a game in name only after the Redhawks closed the first half on a 12-4 run and opened the second half by outscoring the Huskies 15-5. Lakstigala scored 15 of the Redhawks' final 17 points of the first half.
"There was a stretch there were she hit, like, six shots in a row," Nussbaum said.
A 3-pointer by Naperville North freshman Greta Kampschroeder had the Huskies within 22-20 with 6:19 remaining in the second quarter before Lakstigala and the Redhawks turned up the heat.
"We played better defense in this game than we had in previous games where we weren't as strong," Schmid said. "We wanted to prevent them from getting 3s and prevent them from getting in the post. We prepared better for this game defensive-wise. I'm glad it worked out."
Naperville Central led by as many as 27 points midway through the fourth quarter on a basket by Maiah DeShazer off a nifty feed by Lakstigala.
"We're at our strongest when we take the ball to the basket," Lakstigala said. "We did a really good job of that tonight. We got some 2-plus-1's (three-point plays) because of our aggressiveness."
Kampschroeder led Naperville North (7-8, 3-4) with 12 points and 9 rebounds and Sadie Jurkovic added 8 points and 5 rebounds. Senior guard Lauren Platou was limited by foul trouble and exited early with just 8 points.
"It's disappointing," Naperville North coach Jason Dycus said. "We've shown flashes of being really good this year and we've shown flashes of a team that can be beaten by anybody.
"We were bad in all three phases tonight," he added. "We didn't get our fastbreak going, we weren't very good offensively -- we were rushing at times and we don't have a consistent second scorer, which you have to have to be a good team -- and defensively we were terrible."
Freshman Gaby Melby scored 8 points for Naperville Central, which also got 5 points from senior Abigail Kincaide.
"I'm real happy with where we're at right now, but I won't be happy if this is where we're at a month from now," Nussbaum said.