Downers Grove North defense stifles Naperville North
Downers Grove North needed a win to regain its mojo.
Consider the Trojans' mojo regained.
Downers North defeated a strong Naperville North girls basketball team 33-28 Thursday night in a nonconference game in Naperville.
"I think we needed the win because we just needed to know that we could do it," said Trojans sophomore Eleanor Harris, whose team lost a West Suburban Silver game in overtime Tuesday to Lyons Twp. "Like we could pull it through and keep it all together even after a tough loss like that."
"I think it was important for the kids. It was a tough physically and emotionally tough loss, and it was important to bounce back and find a win," added Trojans coach Stephan Bolt.
Each team took a turn early looking like they might have a big night. Downers Grove North (17-5) took an 11-2 first-quarter lead with an 11-0 run, giving the Trojans their biggest lead. Naperville North (13-5) answered by scoring the next 12 points.
Naperville North took its final lead at 28-27 with 6:11 to play on a Greta Kampschroeder free throw. The Huskies never scored again, in part because the Trojans didn't let them have the ball. And of course the Trojans played that stifling defense for which they're known when the Huskies did get the ball.
"It was frustrating because ... we got frazzled in our heads because it was like, not the style of play that we play," Huskies coach Erin Colletti said.
"We switched Ellie (Gross) to Kampschroeder and I think she did a really nice job down the stretch and got into her and made it difficult for her to get a shot off. It's not just her. The whole team was really aware. Just the defensive effort. We struggled offensively. I'm proud of the kids," Bolt added.
Harris gave the Trojans the lead with 4:32 to play on a lay-in then made it 31-28 with 50 seconds to play. A pair of Ryann Wendt free throws with 5.5 seconds to go put the game out of reach.
Kampschroeder finished with 16 points and 6 rebounds. Harris and Kate Gross led the Trojans with 9 points, with Gross making 3 important 3-pointers in the third quarter.
The Huskies' biggest highlight came in the third quarter when senior guard Kara Rivard made her season debut. Rivard suffered a torn left ACL in the off-season.
"When I went in the crowd was going crazy. I don't know, I've never been in a state final game, but I kind of just felt like that's they way it would be," said Rivard, who went through nine months of physical therapy.