Fast start carries Glenbard West past Naperville Central
Glenbard West saw earlier in the week the problems a slow start could cause. The Hilltoppers didn't want a repeat of that Saturday at Naperville Central.
Glenbard West scored the game's first 11 points and never let the Redhawks get closer than 8 after that in a 69-56 nonconference girls basketball victory.
"Our game on Tuesday (an overtime victory against Hinsdale Central) ... we really started off really slow and that's what we've been focusing on and kept repeating this whole week is the first three minutes, just dominate, and that's exactly what we did," Glenbard West junior guard Maggie Stutelberg said.
Actually, Glenbard West dominated the first eight minutes, taking a 19-4 lead after one quarter.
Naperville Central tried to fight its way back into the game, going to a half-court zone trap on defense.
"The zone trap that we played the last three quarters, we probably should have started that way," said Redhawks coach Andy Nussbaum, noting his team played even with the Hilltoppers the final three quarters. "So if we start the game at the beginning of the second quarter we're OK."
The Redhawks (5-4) forced Glenbard West (8-2) to turn over the ball more, but they never really rattled the Hilltoppers.
"I think they did a nice job," Glenbard West coach Kristi Faulkner said of her players. "We always talk about basketball is a game of runs and it's how you withstand that. We made a run and then they made a run, and I thought we did a nice job of holding our composure and not getting rattled and playing through it and not worrying so much on score and focusing on each possession and trying to get better each possession."
"I think we recognized that the middle was so open, and I think we used that to our advantage," Stutelberg added. "And I think we did a really good job today of swinging the ball and finding the extra pass and the open person."
Taylor Huff led the Hilltoppers with 23 points and a dozen rebounds, with 7 of those rebounds on the offensive end. Stutelberg scored 21 points and grabbed 6 rebounds as the two 6-footers used their height to their advantage against the shorter Redhawks.
Senior Addison Yeager added 10 points, and eight of the nine Hilltoppers who played scored.
"We were excited about everybody getting involved," Faulkner said. "I think everybody contributed. Almost everybody scored today, which was really nice to see. We made the extra pass."
"Their team fits together real nice," Nussbaum added. "They've got one kid (Stutelberg) that can just about do everything. They've got a big kid (Huff) that's solid around the basket.
"Then they've got a bunch of complementary players who are willing to let those players do what they do best. They made it difficult because they played as a team."
Junior guard Gabi Melby scored 24 points for the Redhawks, and classmate Karly Maida scored 14.