Kickel, Naperville North storm to DVC win
Alison Kickel and her teammates took to the basketball court Tuesday night at Neuqua Valley determined to start fast and to string four strong quarters together.
Mission accomplished on both counts.
The Naperville North forward scored the game's first five points and then helped the Huskies with tough defense and rebounding throughout in a 47-18 victory over the Wildcats.
With the one-sided win, the Huskies improved to 18-5 on the year and 5-0 in the DuPage Valley Conference.
"I always like to have an efficient start. That's like a key to our game; quick and efficient and playing a full four quarters," said Kickel, who scored 11 points and had 7 rebounds all in the first half as the visitors stormed ahead 30-4 at halftime. "We don't just want one or two good quarters. We want to try and play a full four quarters well."
Neuqua Valley played without junior forward Jada Devine -- still out with an ankle injury -- and struggled to hit shots and to hang on to the basketball. The Huskies defense pressured the Wildcats into 17 turnovers through two quarters and limited their opponent to just one Claudia Gallegos field goal and a pair of free throws.
Freshman Layla Henderson also took advantage of her opportunities to shine, tallying 9 points and 3 steals off the bench for Naperville North.
The team's leading scorer, Greta Kampschroeder, had 7 points, 4 steals and plenty of extra rest as the Huskies went deep into their bench and picked up contributions from several players.
"We felt great. It's been our focus since the beginning to push conference, so this game was pretty important, but we've also been pushing for pretty wins," said Henderson, noting that the team has pulled out a few wins this winter without playing its best basketball. "We've been getting some wins, but we didn't play the best that we can."
Neuqua Valley dropped to 10-14, 0-4. Ellie Wisner, who was held without a point in the first half, started the third quarter with a 3-pointer and finished with a team-leading 10 points.
Huskies coach Erin Colletti was thrilled with Kickel's start, as well as her entire team's solid play throughout the evening.
"Alison Kickel, oh my god, offensive rebound, putting it back, taking it to the hole, finishing strong ... this was just a great game for her," the Naperville North coach said. "That felt good. That was a good win.
"They shared the ball well. They passed the ball well. They played defense with high pressure intensity. We put four quarters together. It was a great that we could go deep on our bench and when we put people in the intensity level and our energy remained high. It was a lot of fun for them."