2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 2/8/2018 9:30 PM

Win means Naperville Central won’t have to share DVC championship

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  • Mia Lakstigala

    Mia Lakstigala

 
 

Mia Lakstigala's stat line Thursday night suggest an athlete determined to win the DuPage Valley Conference girls basketball championship outright: 34 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocked shots, 1 steal, five 3-pointers.

The way the Naperville Central guard compiled those numbers describe a senior determined to win on senior night.

"We're really excited about both," the Penn recruit said. "I think the seniors especially were super excited before the game. We were jumping around, dancing, and I think that also correlated to our play in the game. We played with high energy."

Lakstigala and the Redhawks accomplished both, defeating visiting Lake Park 62-51 in the teams' regular-season finale. Naperville Central (25-5, 15-1) won the DVC by a game over second-place Wheaton Warrenville South.

"How fitting is it that Mia gets her career high on senior night?" Redhawks coach Andy Nussbaum asked rhetorically, also noting Naperville Central hadn't won on senior night in a few years. "That's awesome."

Lake Park got off to a fast start against an all-senior Redhawks lineup, going ahead 15-5 late in the first quarter on a Cameron James 3-pointer. Naperville Central responded with a 20-0 run that lasted nearly seven minutes.

"We made sure not to put our heads down. We kept taking it to the basket, being aggressive and I think on defense we picked it up a little bit. We had to make sure to get a couple stops and that could correlate to the offense," Lakstigala said.

"We were playing too fast for what we wanted to do," Lake Park coach Brian Rupp said. "We weren't playing together on offense and we were kind of letting them do whatever they wanted to do on their offensive side."

It didn't help that Lakstigala scored 17 points by halftime.

"You're not going to beat Naperville Central with Lakstigala going off for (34 points). You're not going to beat them. I mean, she hit some pretty tough shots the second half. That's tip-your-cap stuff," Rupp said.

Lake Park tied the game several times in the second half, but they never regained the lead.

A runner in the lane by Lake Park sophomore Darrione Rogers tied the game at 42 with 5:47 to play, but Naperville Central freshman Gabi Melby hit a 3-pointer to put the Redhawks ahead again, a basket Nussbaum called "a huge basket at a big time."

A Carson Vance 3-pointer tied the game at 45, but then Lakstigala took over again. Her 3-pointer with 4:54 to go put the Redhawks ahead for good, and she scored 14 points in those final five minutes.

"She's just had a great career," Nussbaum said of Lakstigala. "I'm so proud of what she's done. Everyone can see the improvement she's made from year to year, especially tonight. Step-back 3s, she just played awesome."

Lucy Schmid added 13 points and 7 rebounds for the Redhawks.

Rogers finished with 24 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals for Lake Park.

"Rogers is the real deal," Nussbaum said.

Vance added 13 points. The Lancers lost junior guard Kate Kirkham to an ankle injury in the second quarter.

"I was proud of our girls," Rupp said. "We battled back with a starter out."

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