Naperville North's relentless defense dominates DeKalb
Naperville North was so good from the opening tip Thursday night that some of numbers in their win over DeKalb are staggering.
The unbeaten Huskies jumped ahead 11-0 barely one minute in play, and built a 21-2 lead less than three minutes in. By the time the first quarter came to a close, the hosts were up 34-9, had pressured the Barbs into 13 turnovers, and were well on their way to an 83-36 DuPage Valley Conference triumph.
Sharpshooter Kenzie Hare was on top of her game, adding 32 points to her 41-point outburst two nights earlier against Batavia. But just as impressive as Hare's five 3-pointers and acrobatic drives to the rim was the defensive effort the Huskies displayed, especially in the first eight minutes of the night.
"In practice we've been working hard on communicating, and making sure we got each other's backs," junior Layla Henderson said. "Our defense always creates our offense and that was really nice to see it all come together. We definitely work as a unit. We're the best of friends off the court. I feel like it's so special to watch because our chemistry is so strong."
The points came so quick for the Huskies (9-0, 2-0), who often drained a shot, swiped the inbounds pass and quickly put in another bucket. DeKalb coach Mark Sykes, whose team took to the court with a 5-3 overall mark and 1-0 in the DVC, said his team will need to shake off the tough first quarter and learn from the experience.
"They put a lot of pressure on us. It's a great learning lesson for us. We just got to get back to the gym and keep working hard," Sykes said. "That's what we're preaching to our kids. Put in the effort in the practice facility and the results will come in the gym. They didn't come early on tonight, but we're excited about what's coming up in the future."
Junior center Kailey Porter paced the Barbs with 16 points and Amina Gray added seven points, but the visitors were no match for a Huskies attack that saw Hare get 32 points to lead a balanced attack. Peyton Fenner and Abby Drendel also scored in double digits and Henderson tallied nine points with seven rebounds and two steals for Naperville North.
"We just started with a lot of energy," said Hare, a St. Louis University commit. "We take pride in our press and we came ready to play. We moved the ball pretty well once we got our steals and we were able to finish. It was fun."
Naperville North coach Erin Colletti agreed that it was a fun night indeed.
"Our defense was relentless," she said. "We got points off of turnovers and that was huge. We came out with a high energy, Huskie ball defense and running game, that's what we did. It was a lot of fun."