Naperville North has winning formula against Naperville Central
Heading into the cross-town matchup Friday, one of Naperville North's goals was to have its defense lead to offense.
After a slow start, that is exactly what transpired.
Overcoming an early deficit, the Huskies prevailed 57-41 over Naperville Central in the DuPage Valley Conference girls basketball opener for both teams.
Trailing by as many as 7 points in the first quarter, the visitors held the Redhawks (5-3, 0-1) to 10 or fewer points in each of the remaining periods.
"We know they have great shooters," Naperville North coach Erin Colletti said, "and we know they can shoot from 10 feet behind the arc. At the start they hit some open 3s. We talked about that we had to match up with them and we did a lot better in the second quarter.
"That was so fun, it's an awesome atmosphere to play in the cross-town."
Freshman Abby Drendel scored 8 points during that second quarter when Naperville North turned the tide. Her late 3-pointer gave the Huskies a 27-24 lead heading into halftime.
"It feels amazing," Drendel said. "I've never had a win this exciting. This is probably the best team I've ever played on, we have a ton of energy. I love it."
Greta Kampschroeder topped all scorers with 22 points, 7 of which she poured in during the fourth quarter when her team slowly pulled away. Naperville North (6-2, 1-0) took a 5-point margin into the final eight minutes as it held Naperville Central to just four field goals in the second half.
"It all starts with our defense," said Kampschroeder, who added 10 rebounds and 3 steals. "We've been really working on that all season. We kept our energy up and we were able to shut them down. It was about making sure we knew where their shooters were at. We just believed in ourselves the whole time."
Karly Maida led a balanced Redhawks scoring output with 9 points, knocking down a trio of 3-pointers. Gabi Melby and Lauren Umbright had 8 apiece.
"I thought we played pretty well," said Naperville Central coach Andy Nussbaum, whose team pulled within 2 points in the fourth quarter. "We had a chance to win. We are the kind of team that if we miss one or two shots, and pardon the pun, it is tough to rebound. We don't have the length that they do. They are tall and long. And the other thing is it's tough to simulate that in practice."