Naperville North's depth makes difference vs. Lyons

 
By Stan Goff
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/29/2021 6:30 PM

Great teams typically have stars on the floor, but just as important are the teammates who surround those stars.

In Wednesday afternoon action at the Montini Christmas Tournament, Naperville North sharpshooter Kenzie Hare -- one of the top scorers in the state the last two seasons -- was plagued by foul trouble and never really found her shooting stroke.

 

But this year's deep Huskies, who are now 15-2 on the year, managed just fine in their 66-57 defeat of a strong Lyons Township squad despite the fact that Hare scored just 11 points. Recently Hare scored more than 70 points in a pair of back-to-back wins for Naperville.

Five Huskies scored in double figures against the Lions (13-3) including Hope Ancieto, who hit three timely 3-pointers in the second half while scoring 11 points off the bench.

"We play well together and when someone's not having their best game, someone else steps up," said Ancieto, who transferred to Naperville North before last season after playing two years at Montini. "I knew I needed to step up when Kenzie wasn't hitting shots so I did what I had to do. When they needed it, I knew I felt good about my shot so I just kept on shooting."

The Huskies needed everyone to chip in on Wednesday against a Lions team led by Izzy Lee, who had game-highs of 17 points and 13 rebounds. Naperville North led 40-32 at the half behind 10 points from Abby Drendel, and then took a 53-44 advantage into the fourth quarter, but not before Hare picked up her third and fourth fouls, forcing her to sit for a good portion of the final quarter.

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The Lions pulled within 58-53 following a second-chance bucket from Lee with just over 2 minutes to play, but couldn't get enough shots to fall down the stretch. Ally Cesarini added 14 points and two steals for Lyons.

"I think both teams are pretty evenly matched and everybody on the floor can score so it makes it really hard to target one person," said Lee. "I think we matched up well. It was just a tough game. I think we played well, but we have some things to learn from that game that definitely could have helped us get the win."

Huskies coach Erin Colletti expects everyone on her team to contribute, so she was not surprised to see Peyton Fenner lead a balanced attack with 14 points as Ancieto, Drendel, Hare and Layla Henderson all also reached double figures.

"That's what we need to do, we need to spread the wealth," the Naperville North coach said. "We can't be a one-faceted attack because it's really easy to guard. So, when we get everyone else involved and everyone else has the mentality to score, which is what we want to ingrain in our girls' brains, it makes us really hard to guard. You can't just focus on one or two players. You've got to focus on all five for us."

Colletti said Ancieto deserves a lot of credit for the last two wins at the Montini tourney.

"Hope was huge, and she was huge yesterday against Whitney Young," she said. "This is a familiar space for her so the rims are friendly. She's a baller. When she comes in she gives her best effort in every single play. She was focused on both ends of the floor. We can't do it without every single player on this team. From the first to the 13th, and to the 14th, our manager."

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