Girls basketball: Jones powers Naperville Central past Warriors in DVC thriller

 
By Stan Goff
Updated 1/19/2023 10:24 PM

Daily Herald Correspondent It's one thing to say you really want to win, but it's a whole different ballgame when you go out and do what Naperville Central's Trinity Jones did Thursday night to prove just that.

After her Redhawks had lost a tough 60-56 DuPage Valley Conference contest at Waubonsie Valley back on Dec. 1, Jones wanted to even the score when the Warriors came to town for a rematch. She put on quite a show on both ends of the floor -- and was especially impressive in the second half -- as the Redhawks prevailed 57-55 in a come-from-behind thriller for their ninth straight win.

 

The talented freshman led all players with 29 points and 22 rebounds, despite a somewhat quiet first half and some extended time on the bench in the third quarter with 3 fouls.

But Jones exploded for 16 points in the fourth quarter by sinking a pair of 3-pointers, making all four of her free throws and slashing her way to the basket numerous times for either layups or foul shots.

"We changed our mindset. We wanted to win real bad," Jones said when asked about the difference on Thursday. "We had to adjust and try things we hadn't done; run some different plays. That's what we did and the outcome was good."

The Redhawks are now 15-9 on the year and 3-3 in the DVC after starting the year 6-9 overall and 0-3 in the league. Jones was not the only freshman to shine for Naperville Central, as Erin Hackett had 9 points and 7 rebounds, including two big 3-pointers in the team's 24-point fourth quarter.

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"I definitely think they (the 3-pointers) were a boost for our team," said Hackett, whose third three of the night tied the game at 53-53 with 2:15 left to play. "They let us know we're still in this game, and with Trinity getting those layups and everything ... it was a team effort at the end. We all just connected well."

The Redhawks took a 57-55 lead in the final minute after Jones grabbed a rebound on one end, then drove coast-to-coast for basket that proved to be the game-winner.

The Warriors had one last chance with :02 left on the clock when Taylor Curry was fouled while shooting. But after her first free throw rolled off the rim she had to miss the second shot on purpose and the Warriors couldn't get the loose ball and attempt a last-second shot.

"I'd like to say it was a great high school game and you didn't care who won," Redhawks coach Andy Nussbaum said. "It's probably fitting that we split. They're a good team and this is a really good win for us. Trinity was absolutely outstanding."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Curry had a great game for the Warriors with 19 points that featured a number of quick drives to the rim. Freshman Danyella Mporokoso scored 16 points and added 10 rebounds, while Hannah Laub had 9 points and 3 steals and Lily Newton 7 points and 8 rebounds for the 14-5 Warriors, who are 2-3 in the DVC.

"We want to always compete," Waubonsie Valley coach Brett Love said. "We still need to figure out how do we start a game the way we finish, you know shooting wise and things like that.

Defensively we could have done a better job but Trinity is hard to guard. When she pushes the ball like that it opens up a lot for them. It allows them to get guys open on the outside but then you've also got to worry about her getting to the rim and you've got to worry about her getting rebounds."

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