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Jamie Cuny scored a career-high 23 points and added eight rebounds as Naperville Central advanced to the semifinals of the Dundee-Crown Charger Classic for the first time since 2003 by knocking off defending runner-up New Trier 56-41 in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
This is the fourth trip to the semifinals for the Redhawks (15-1) but their first without Candace Parker on the roster. They will take on unbeaten Evanston (15-0), which continued its best start ever by edging Barrington 50-46.
“It’s definitely a huge accomplishment for us,” Cuny said. “That was a great team we just played, so it’s a great milestone for us.”
Cuny played a prominent role for Naperville Central. New Trier (10-5) scored the first basket but never led again as Cuny scored 10 points in the opening half, including a three-pointer that capped a 9-0 run which gave the Redhawks a 23-13 lead.
The Illinois-Springfield recruit then tallied seven points during a decisive third quarter that saw Naperville Central outscore the Trevians 15-8 to take a 43-29 lead into the final stanza.
Much of Cuny’s offense, including three of her four three-pointers, came off passes from junior point guard Shannon Ryan, who despite not making a basket was an integral force for the Redhawks with seven points, seven assists, six rebounds and two steals.
“We came out and we had to be really patient on offense, don’t force anything,” said the 6-1 Cuny, who made 8-of-12 shots from the floor. “Shannon had great passes to me and my team was finding me. We have really good chemistry and that definitely showed on the floor.”
Cierra Stanciel added 12 points and five rebounds and center Victoria Trowbridge had eight points, nine boards and two assists for the Redhawks, who played dramatically better than they did in squeaking past Buffalo Grove 51-43 in Wednesday’s first round.
“We didn’t look very good yesterday and the girls knew it,” Naperville Central coach Andy Nussbaum said. “But this is certainly a little bit more of what we’re capable of.”
Freshman Jeannie Boehm had 12 points and 11 rebounds to lead New Trier. Megan Neuhaus added seven points off the bench, but was shut out in the second half as the Redhawks played tight defense.
“New Trier is a good team,” Nussbaum said. “We played so well sometimes [the Redhawks] surprise me. I was very impressed with the way we played.”