Naperville North beats one of Indiana's finest
South Bend St. Joseph has a tradition of success in Indiana girls basketball.
Naperville North showed it wants to build a similar reputation with its 45-35 victory against the Indians on Saturday afternoon at Coach Kipp's Hoopsfest at Willowbrook.
"It was good competition," Huskies senior forward Jada Wilmington said. "I think going back we'll probably use a lot of stuff that we learned in this game when we go back to (DuPage Valley Conference play)."
Naperville North coach Erin Colletti enjoyed what she learned about her team.
"I feel like we can face any challenge that comes to us if we have the confidence, the mental focus and fortitude," Colletti said. "And that we can play with the best of the best. ... It's exciting that we can face a team at this point in the season -- we didn't play perfect by any means -- but we played well. We're growing. So hopefully by February or March we're still in it and we're playing our best basketball. So today was a big step forward."
The Huskies (14-5) got their usual clutch performance from junior Greta Kampschroeder, who scored 16 of her game-high 21 points in the first half to carry Naperville North early. The teams traded the lead 10 times with two ties in the first half.
Kampschroeder also grabbed 10 rebounds.
The Huskies took the lead for good on Nikki Kwilosz's 3-pointer to start the third quarter. Kwilosz finished with 12 points, making all four of the 3-pointers she attempted.
"It was really just about the energy," Wilmington said. "We fed off it. I set screens and Greta and Nikki started shooting 3s off the screens."
"Our defense in the second half really changed the game for us, which I feel has always been the key to our success is our defense creating our offense to give us our confidence on offense," Colletti added. "It was fun to watch us play our role, not overplay ourselves and just like trust each other out there."
A Wilmington basket with 5:58 left in the fourth quarter made the score 39-28, the Huskies' biggest lead of the game. The Indians (13-6)never again came closer than 7 points.
"They all do their job, great role players, set screens and they know who to get the ball to," St. Joseph coach Becca Goodman said.
Wilmington had one of her best games of the season, scoring 6 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking two shots.
"The second half she did awesome," Colletti said of Wilmington. "She just kind of calmed herself down mentally, slowed down when she had the ball in her hands and did purposeful movements. And then defensively she was very disciplined in what we wanted her to do in staying home in the paint, supporting what our guards were doing. She was a big body that's intimidating when people come into the paint, and she didn't bail people out as much with fouls."