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West Chicago recovers in time
By Matthew McClarey | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 1/16/2009 12:03 AM

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One poor quarter nearly doomed the West Chicago girls basketball team Thursday night against Naperville North.

The Wildcats looked to be well on their way to an easy victory over the Huskies, yet a mere 6 points in the third quarter nearly derailed what eventually turned out to be a 69-59 win for West Chicago in Naperville.

West Chicago's 7 turnovers in the third quarter limited the amount of offensive opportunities for the Wildcats, as the visitors managed just 12 attempts from the floor.

"We missed shots that we were making in the first half, and we turned the ball over," West Chicago coach Kim Wallner said. "We weren't making good decisions, and they went on a run.

"Luckily we went on that little run then in the fourth quarter in the beginning and in the middle that got us that cushion again."

The Wildcats (8-10, 3-3 DuPage Valley Conference) cooled Naperville North's charge at the outset of the final period, using an 11-3 run to re-establish a double-digit lead. Freshman guard Liz Reyes scored 6 of those 11 points on her way to a team-high 19 on the night.

"Our defense gave us our offensive points," Reyes said. "I just try to do what's best for the team and be patient on offense."

Promoted to the varsity earlier this season, Reyes was told this week to look for her shot more often.

"I thought she looked to score a little bit tonight against the zone," Wallner said. "We've been looking for her to do that a little bit more too."

Emily Koch's free throw late in the third quarter brought the Huskies (2-13, 1-4) within 2 points of a tie. Naperville North began the fourth quarter trailing 48-45 but could not creep any closer than 2 points.

"They started playing as a team. We had a lot more intensity, we were pushing the ball, and we were looking for better shots," Huskies coach Jacquie Discipio said about closing the gap in the third quarter. "We were playing up-tempo, and we play a much better game when we're playing up-tempo."

A lack of close-game experience didn't help the Naperville North cause either.

"I think that we had a couple of mental goofs. Sadly, we haven't been in close situations very often this year," Discipio said. "We made a couple of big errors in key moments."