Melby hits for 28 points in Naperville Central's win over Waubonsie Valley
Naperville Central was hoping for a better start to its DuPage Valley opener at Waubonsie Valley on Tuesday.
After the offensive show the Redhawks put on in second half, that so-so first half was seemingly forgotten. Erupting for 54 points after the half, the Redhawks ran past the Warriors, 79-59.
"We got off slow, and I think it's the jitters still because we have a lot of new kids getting out the nerves," Redhawks senior Gabi Melby said. "We were playing within ourselves and playing for one another and bouncing back. We were running and playing the game that I know we can play, and today you guys got a glimpse of it, and moving forward in the DVC, I think we're going to be really good."
Melby was all over the floor, scoring by attacking the hoop, hitting jumpers and knocking down 3s to lead the Redhawks (2-1, 1-0) with 28 points.
"We kept playing, and we played with an aggressive attitude and we kept attacking," she said. "I thought we played really well today, especially bouncing back after the two big losses."
Those losses provided the Redhawks with eight quarters of basketball experience, while the Warriors (0-1, 0-1) were playing for the first time and unable to hang on to a 30-25 halftime advantage.
"I liked what we did in the first half," Warriors coach Brett Love said. "We came to play. Hannah (Laub) was aggressive. Lauren (McKnight) was aggressive throughout the game coming off screens and making good reads."
McKnight's 3-pointer with 6:35 left in the third quarter gave the Warriors their biggest lead at 34-28, but the Redhawks answered with an 11-0 run highlighted by 3-pointers from Melby, Karly Maida and Ella McDonald.
Waubonsie Valley never answered.
"This is our first opportunity to kind of have a lead going into the second half and having to respond," Love said. "How do we come back and put together another half and play a full game? We definitely have to pick up the slack on defense and rebounding."
Maida knocked down 5 three-pointers, heating up after halftime.
"I tried to get the first half out of my head because I know I can shoot better than that," she said. "I tried to keep shooting and looking more for my other teammates knowing I wasn't shooting as well, so I tried to pass it to someone who might've been hotter than I was at the time."
In the second half, Maida was the hottest on a sizzling squad that scored 31 points in the third quarter after managing only 31 points in an entire game last Friday against Wheaton North.
McDonald added 12 points and Trinity Strang added 11 for the Redhawks
"I think they finally found it tonight, and they know how good they are," Melby said. "I've been telling them all along if we play together and we play like I know we can play, then we'll be fine all the way through."
Laub, a freshman, led the Warriors with 17 points and McKnight had 12.