Naperville North's Sharples takes over in fourth quarter
Kayla Sharples knew exactly how much Naperville North needed to win Tuesday's girls basketball game at Wheaton North.
"It was very important for us," the senior forward said after the Huskies' 68-61 DuPage Valley Conference victory. "We were in a rough patch, so winning this game will hopefully turn it around for us and let us go on a run."
Sharples was a big reason the Huskies (11-8, 3-3) stayed alive in the DVC race going into Thursday's matchup against league-leader Naperville Central. Sharples scored 25 points, 14 in the final period. She added 6 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 blocked shots.
"You've got to give Kayla credit," Falcons coach Dave Eaton said. "Kayla just took over that game ... I mean, she just flat-out took over in the fourth and won her team that game."
"Honestly, I was just trying to do whatever I could to help our team because recently we've been in a slump, so I wanted to do everything possible so we could win," said Sharples, who will play soccer at Northwestern next year. "But everyone stepped up, especially in the fourth quarter. We made our free throws, which helped us win the game."
Sharples wasn't the only Huskie who had a big game.
Cece Pope had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Caleigh Corbett scored 12 points, including a key three-point play with 2:04 left in the game. Laurel Pereira added 10 points, making all four of her free throws in the final 39.2 seconds.
Wheaton North (9-10, 4-2) tied the game for the final time on an Emari Jones 3-pointer from the top of the key with 3:20 to play. But Pope answered with a basket, and Sharples followed with a steal and an 8-foot jumper. Then came Corbett's three-point play, and the Falcons never got closer than 5 points again.
"We knew that they were going to come ready to play," Eaton said. "This is a big game for them and it's a big game for us."
Jones led the Falcons with 20 points and 6 assists. Kelly Thornton added 19 points, 10 in the final quarter. Jones and Thornton combined for 9 of the Falcons' dozen 3-pointers.
The Huskies made 15 of 19 free throws in the game, 11 of 12 in the final period.
The Huskies busted out of their shooting slump from the floor also, making 26 of their 49 shots.
"I told the girls that that's a breakout win for us," Naperville North coach Jason Dycus said. "That's the type of team that we are. We haven't been playing that well as of late, but that's behind us now. It's all about positive thoughts, positive energy, playing for your teammates, and it starts tonight."
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