Naperville North outlasts Waubonsie Valley
At times it was so tough to watch the action Tuesday night at Waubonsie Valley that Naperville North girls basketball coach Erin Colletti wanted badly to jump on the floor and try things out herself.
On a night when Colletti's Huskies just never seemed to find their groove, visiting Naperville North still managed to do enough good things to escape with a 40-26 DuPage Valley Conference road victory.
Neither team shot well from the floor and the Huskies also struggled from the free-throw line. Naperville North did cling to leads of 13-9 and 19-13 after the first two quarters and eventually built a somewhat comfortable cushion in the second half on its way to improving to 13-4 on the year and 2-0 in the DVC.
"Both teams fought hard, but I think we lacked some focus," Colletti said after her team missed 9 of 11 foul shots. "We played a little frazzled because our shots wouldn't fall. That threw us off in the beginning and then we were trying to force too much. As a coach, you're watching and it's like, God, I just want to get on the floor."
In the end the Huskies players took care of matters on the floor while Colletti stuck with coaching on the sidelines. Junior sharpshooter Greta Kampschroeder knocked down a 3-pointer to extend the Huskies lead to 31-22 with 5:42 left to play. In a low-scoring third quarter it was guard Nikki Kwilosz who put down a timely 3 to help Naperville North work out of its offensive funk.
"It was messy, but we'll take a win," said Kwilosz, who had 8 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals. "I mean, things aren't always going to go our way in these specific games. We just picked each other up."
Kampschroeder opened the game with a 3-pointer and then converted her own steal into a layup as the visitors jumped ahead 5-0. She finished with a game-high 10 points.
"We're all going to miss shots," Kwilosz said, noting the importance that the players pick each other up every night. "We're going to shoot an airball and miss wide open layups. As long as we can shake that out of our head and communicate with each other ... that's what gave us this win. We told each other, 'Next play.' Pick it up."
Waubonsie Valley (6-10, 0-1), showed some flashes in its conference opener, but like the Huskies, found it difficult to get on a consistent run on offense. Foul trouble to Ahniya Melton didn't help as the Warriors forward scored all seven of her points in the first half and then found herself with four fouls in the third quarter.
"I thought we put up a good fight. We're working on finishing four quarters and putting together composed situations and composed possessions," said Waubonsie Valley coach Brett Love said, whose team's positives on the night included its defense on Kampschroeder as well as the tough play of 6-foot-2 senior center Grace Setter. "We wanted to stay in front of Greta, make sure she didn't get to the basket. And if she shot it we wanted a hand up in her face.
"There were good signs, and Grace does an amazing job for us on the boards and changing shots on defense ... really just being a tough player."