Harris helps Downers North handle Downers South

  • Downers Grove North's Margaret Fleming (center) tries to protect the ball during their basketball game against Downers Grove South at Downers Grove North High School in Downers Grove, Ill., on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021.

    Downers Grove North's Margaret Fleming (center) tries to protect the ball during their basketball game against Downers Grove South at Downers Grove North High School in Downers Grove, Ill., on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. Eileen T. Meslar for Shaw Media

  • Downers Grove South's Emily Petring against Downers Grove North on Tuesday.

    Downers Grove South's Emily Petring against Downers Grove North on Tuesday. Eileen T. Meslar for Shaw Media

  • Downers Grove North's Vanesa Linge (center) tries to protect the ball during their basketball game against Downers Grove South at Downers Grove North High School in Downers Grove, Ill., on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021.

    Downers Grove North's Vanesa Linge (center) tries to protect the ball during their basketball game against Downers Grove South at Downers Grove North High School in Downers Grove, Ill., on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. Eileen T. Meslar for Shaw Media

  • Downers Grove North's Margaret Fleming (center) tries to protect the ball during their basketball game against Downers Grove South at Downers Grove North High School in Downers Grove, Ill., on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021.

    Downers Grove North's Margaret Fleming (center) tries to protect the ball during their basketball game against Downers Grove South at Downers Grove North High School in Downers Grove, Ill., on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. Eileen T. Meslar for Shaw Media

 
 
Updated 2/16/2021 10:46 PM

Downers Grove North girls basketball player Eleanor Harris spent halftime Tuesday visualizing a better second half against rival Downers Grove South.

After the 6-foot junior was struck in the face while securing a rebound early in the third quarter, her motivated mindset was complete.

 

"I got a little upset. They all kind of collapsed on me but I still had the ball," Harris said. "(One player) clawed me down the face and then I saw red. That's when I came down (on offense) and made all of my shots."

Harris' big second half led to her best game so far and put the finishing touches on the undefeated Trojans' 44-28 victory.

While junior guard Ryann Wendt had 13 points, including both 3s by the Trojans (3-0), Harris, who made one free throw and took only one shot before halftime, finished with 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks and contributed to six of 13 steals. Four-year starting guard Meghan Stapleton had 17 points for the Mustangs (0-2).

In the Trojans' first two victories, Harris had a combined 6 points, 10 rebounds and no steals.

"Maybe we've got to get someone to make her mad before the game. She's like the She-Hulk," joked Downers North coach Stephan Bolt. "When she gets a little big angry, she plays at a lot higher level. She got a little upset and then all of a sudden, fire went and she was seeing red and just competing at a high level."

Despite making just 4 of 26 shots, including Wendt's 3s, Downers North led 20-10 at halftime thanks to sinking 9 of 14 free throws and collecting eight steals. By the end of the third quarter, the Trojans were in front 33-15.

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Stapleton had both of the Mustangs' 3s and all 9 of their free throws, making 5. Four other players also scored, two of them in the fourth quarter.

"In the first half, turnovers really killed us. We were right there with them (otherwise)," Downers South coach Lyndsie Long said.

"We had glimpses in the second half where we worked the ball around and got great shots that weren't falling. They're a super disciplined team, very talented."

Downers North held its first two opponents to fewer than 20 points. The Mustangs (0-2) lost their four-filled opener 56-52 at Glenbard West Friday.

"I think we're getting better defensively. We're not quite there yet, where we want to be, but we're getting better for sure," Bolt said. "Offensively, I thought we had a lot of good shots and just didn't make them."

Wendt, who has scored 32 points with 6 threes, is among three returning starters. But the lineup also has been bolstered by No. 6-7 players Vanesa Linge and Ella Sebek.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Linge, who alternated with Harris, had 5 points and 5 first-half rebounds. Sebek had a team-best 14 points with four 3s Saturday.

"You try to do as best as you can with those minutes but the second that you get out, (Harris) comes in and does a great job, too. We just play off each other and help each other the whole game," Linge said.

"(Linge) was a beast coming off the bench and gave us energy," Bolt said. "Ella did what she does and gave us energy on both sides but Vanesa got us extra possessions, great offensive rebounds. played great defense. It's what I expect those two to do."

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