Hughes drills clutch 3-pointer, lifts St. Charles North over Moline

By Jared Birchfield
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/27/2021 5:55 PM

After hitting 50 percent of its shots from beyond the arc in the first half Monday, St. Charles North's 3-point shooting went cold in the second half of the North Stars' opening round game of the 38th Annual Komaromy Classic at Dundee-Crown.

St. Charles North (8-5) only drained three of 15 3-point shots in the last 16 minutes of the contest with Moline but the third one came at critical moment. With 12.9 seconds left on the clock and the North Stars trailing by two, junior guard Alyssa Hughes let one fly from the left wing that found nothing but net to put North Stars up, 55-54.


The trey ended up being the winning shot as Moline turned to ball over on its ensuing possession, and St. Charles North ran out to clock for the win. With the victory, the North Stars advance to a quarterfinal contest at 2 p.m. Tuesday against Stevenson.

"On two consecutive possessions (in the third quarter) we shoot air balls from the 3-point arc, that's frustrating for us," said St. Charles North coach Mike Tomczak. "I think that got in our heads a little bit."

St. Charles North jumped out to a 21-14 lead after the first quarter. The Maroons rallied in the second quarter to trail only 31-30 at halftime. An Erin Stack layup halfway through the quarter put St. Charles North up 31-18. Moline ended the quarter on a 12-0 run.

Stack led all scorers with 19 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.

"Defensively, we weren't even playing close to what we needed to in terms of intensity. Our ability to rebound wasn't there," Tomczak said. "If you take five minutes off against a good team, they are going to make you pay for it and they did. We were lucky to get out of here with a win."

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Nineteen seconds into the second half, Bella Smith's 3-pointer put Moline (12-5) up by two. St. Charles North went back on top 38-35 with a Stack layup followed by a Hughes trey at the 5:42 mark of the third quarter. The North Stars then went over 12 minutes before connecting on their next trey. The third period ended with Moline up 43-41.

The drought ended with 1:17 left on the clock. Katrina Stack (8 points) hit it to tie the game at 52-52. Caroline Hazen, who led Moline with 11 points, scored to return the lead to the Maroons with 33.9 seconds left. Hughes made the winning shot on the North Stars' next possession.

Moline assistant coach Marquisha Harris felt it was her squad's defensive adjustment that impacted North's 3-point shooting.

"We made a defensive adjustment. We went from our man (to-man defense) to 1-3-1 zone defense. It's a pretty good defense for our team and they went out and did it very aggressively," Harris said. "We had girls flying at them and it was just a little bit more intimidating then to shoot the ball."

Moline head coach Ardian Ritchie was sick and missed the game.

Tahlea Tirrell scored 10 points for Moline.

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