WW South earns win over Naperville Central, postseason momentum
Like many Illinois high schools girls basketball teams on this Thursday night, Wheaton Warrenville South and host Naperville Central were trying to make the most of the regular season finale for both teams with the postseason just days away.
The Tigers (15-14 overall) went home with a 51-27 victory and some momentum entering regional play.
"We brought a lot of energy tonight," said junior Jojo Hughes, who led all scorers with 13 points.
Next up for WW South is a Tuesday night Class 4A Geneva regional semifinal against Schaumburg. The Tigers are seeded eighth in the Bartlett sectional, the Saxons ninth.
WW South beat Schaumburg in the season opener back in November, 44-39.
"We're ready to take on Schaumburg. We've gotten a lot of momentum winning our last two games," said freshman Emily Troia, who scored 12 points.
The Tigers burst out of the gate taking a 20-3 lead after the first quarter on 7-of-15 shooting from the field. Hughes scored eight of her 13 points in that frame including two 3-point baskets.
WW South kept up strong shooting in the second at 50%, but Naperville Central (14-12) found its groove offensively in the second quarter with a 16-point outburst.
Junior Megan Norkett's basket pulled the Redhawks to within 10 at 23-13 with 4:31 remaining until halftime. Central shot 6-of-11 for the quarter, but the Tigers led 32-19 at intermission.
The Redhawks hit three 3-point baskets in the quarter courtesy of Aditi Prasad, Ella Burke and Kendall Lenz.
Central stayed within striking distance early in the third quarter with Callie Tumilty and Burke scoring the first two baskets to reduce the Tigers' lead to 32-23. Tumilty led her team with seven points.
The Tigers, however, would close out on a 7-0 run to lead 39-23 at the end of the third quarter.
Central also opens the postseason on Tuesday at the Class 4A Oswego East regional with a battle against the hosts. The Redhawks are a sixth seed in the East Aurora sectional, Oswego East is 10th.
Central lost to the visiting Wolves on Jan. 22, 55-43.
"They're a little bigger than us and when they were here they shot pretty well," said Redhawks coach Andy Nussbaum. "They have a sub .500 record, but my guess is they have been above .500 since Christmas. We will have our hands full."