As a sophomore in just her third varsity girls basketball game, Naperville North point guard Laurel Pereira can be expected to get better and better as the season goes on.
But that's not to say the Huskies' floor leader isn't already pretty good. In Wednesday's 56-31 defeat of host Waubonsie Valley, Pereira was strong on both ends and helped Naperville North improve to 3-0 on the year and 2-0 at the 2013 Warhawk Thanksgiving tournament.
Pereira had a pair of steals early on, tallied 6 quick points and helped the Huskies blitz the Warriors with a 17-0 start to the contest.
"Our goal always is just to start real fast from the beginning," said Pereira, who finished with 13 points and 4 steals. "We do our best to try and put the pressure on them and be the aggressor."
Naperville North followed first-year coach Jason Dycus' game plan perfectly, forcing 11 turnovers while leading 19-5 after one quarter and building the lead to 31-8 before Waubonsie Valley (0-3) closed the second quarter with a 7-0 run that was capped by a 3-pointer from freshman Janiece Thomas.
"It was a great start for us," said Dycus, whose team will resume Warhawk play against DeKalb at 10 a.m. Friday at West Aurora. "It's only the third game in but I feel like they're really starting to grasp the offensive concepts that I'm stressing. I really want us to share the ball and be hard to guard."
Kayla Sharples is proving to be hard to guard on a regular basis. The Huskies junior had 23 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals. With Sharples and Pereira wreaking havoc on the perimeter and Cece Pope, Morganne Freeman and Katie Cores all strong rebounders, Naperville North is off to a great start this season.
"We're a young team and it's our third game, so we're still working out the kinks in our offense, but I think we did a much better job of moving the ball around and sharing it," Pereira said. "I feel like this season we have a lot of potential to go far. It's a great team with a great group of girls. I think we're looking good so far so I'm really excited for the future."
The Warriors, however, didn't make strides. After opening the year with a pair of 8-point setbacks, they were dominated.
"We took a step back. Turnovers killed us and we missed a lot of shots," Warriors coach Dave Owles said.
"We were very poor defensively. They were very good and we can't have a bad effort against them. They made us pay."
Guard Emma Rigby had 8 points and 3 steals for Waubonsie Valley, and Thomas contributed 8 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocked shots off the bench. The Warriors will face Oswego on Friday at West Aurora as the Warhawk tourney resumes.