Downers Grove North routs rival

 
 
Updated 12/18/2021 9:52 PM

When you see a chance, take it.

That's the message Downers Grove North coach Stephan Bolt gave to junior guard Maggie Fleming before Saturday's game with crosstown rival Downers Grove South.

 

Fleming took it to heart, then took the visiting Mustangs out of the game. She scored the first six points on a pair of 3-pointers, then watched senior guard Kate Gross follow suit.

It was all part of an opening barrage that saw the Trojans race out to a 14-0 lead en route to a 54-24 victory.

Fleming finished with a career-high 16 points, including four of North's 12 3-pointers.

It was a welcome turn of events for Bolt, whose team lost to Lyons 31-29 on Friday night.

"I think we were due to hit some shots," Bolt said. "It was a frustrating loss last night.

"I think the kids were ready to play tonight and focused. It is always fun to get amped up for a crosstown matchup and the kids really shot the ball well tonight."

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That started with Fleming, who has always been a good shooter but is beginning to be more assertive in her third season on varsity.

"It's honestly not surprising," Bolt said. "She's a great shooter.

"She passed up some shots last night against LT, so I told her, 'You've got to shoot when you're ready to shoot and don't think twice.' That's what she did tonight."

Fleming's early success fueled the Trojans (12-2) to an outstanding performance at both ends. They shot 12 of 30 from 3-point range and did not allow a basket until the 3:17 mark of the second quarter, by which time they led 21-2.

"Last night I was a bit hesitant, so (Bolt) talked to me before the game and said, 'You need to be one of our top scorers,'" Fleming said. "So I saw the chance and I took it tonight."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Fleming wasn't the only one. Senior Ryann Wendt, who scored all 15 of her points in the second half, and Gross each drained a trio of treys, while Kyla Wilkerson came off the bench to hit two more.

"We need that first shot to go in and motivate us and then it gets us going," Fleming said. "We were all on tonight.

"Our main thing is when we start doing well on defense -- they had almost zero points in the first quarter -- and once one person hits a shot, then we move the ball a little more, be unselfish with it and everyone gets going."

The early success snowballed and soon buried the Mustangs (6-7), who attempted only eight shots in the first half and finished with 23 turnovers. The Trojans had only four turnovers.

"They sat in a zone and we have some kids who can shoot the ball, so we let the ball move and took what were good shots with the right players," Bolt said. "Kate and Maggie started off knocking down some shots and it became a little contagious.

"Then we started getting the ball inside a little bit. The kids did a nice job of finding each other and executing."

Na'Kiyah Robertson tallied 12 points to lead the Mustangs, who trailed by as many as 33 points in the third quarter. Downers North's scoring was more balanced as Gross scored nine points and Wilkerson six. Fleming and Wendt each had three assists, while Gross, Wilkerson, Kaitlyn Parker and Vanessa Linge each had two assists.

"I think one of our best aspects is we work together as a team," Fleming said. "It's not just one superstar.

"Everyone shares the ball and gets it done and that's how we win our games."

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