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West Aurora withstands Naperville North

01/05/2013, 10:50pm CST
By Bob Reynolds

Naperville North staged a furious fourth-quarter rally, scoring 29 points in the frame but ultimately falling short for a 73-68 loss to West Aurora in a DuPage Valley matchup Saturday night.

Naperville North's Kayla Sharples puts up a shot over two West Aurora defenders in Naperville on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2012. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media

It’s not often that a team scores 29 points in the fourth quarter, yet comes up on the short end of the score.

But that’s what happened to Naperville North Saturday night. The Huskies staged a furious rally, but West Aurora hit enough free throws down the stretch to secure a 73-68 victory on North’s court.

The result moves both teams to the .500 mark. The Blackhawks now sit at 7-7 overall and 2-3 in the DuPage Valley Conference after their third straight win. Meanwhile, Naperville North fell to 8-8 and 1-3.

The first three quarters were fairly uneventful, as West Aurora never trailed but could never build a commanding lead.

Then the fireworks started, and Zoe Swift had a lot to do with lighting the fuse. The Huskies’ 5-foot-4 senior sparkplug had been on the bench in the first half, a result of having participated in a week-long soccer tournament and not practicing basketball.

Taylor Jacobsen hit a three-pointer with 6:52 remaining to give West a 51-41 cushion. It didn’t last long.

North responded with 10 points in the span of 70 seconds, fueled by a full-court press led by Swift at the point that rattled the Blackhawks. Delaney White (10 points) had a three-pointer to start the run and a three-point play to finish it.

The Huskies added four more points to go up 55-51 before Liz Skaggs (19 points, 10 rebounds) stopped the bleeding with a three-point play of her own. It was the start of a 14-4 streak that put control of the game back on the West Aurora side for good.

“It’s important for us to play unselfishly, and we have rewards for assists to help us get easy baskets,” said Skaggs.

Jacobsen, who led all scorers with 22 points, 15 in the second half, had a three-point play and a fast break bucket to help the Blackhawks regain the lead, which they held by making six of their 12 free throws in the final minutes.

“We have to work on our free throws,” said West Aurora coach Connie Siljendahl of her team’s 17-of-31 performance at the line. “We had two main goals — outrebound them and shut Swift down, and we were able to outrebound them.”

Kayla Sharples was a force for Naperville North. The 5-10 sophomore scored 13 of her 18 points after the intermission, pulled down 11 rebounds, and seemed to have her hands on the ball on every possession for both teams.

Erin Jacobsen contributed to the solid guard play for West Aurora with 11 points. For the Huskies, Swift had 11 points while Morganne Freeman added nine.

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