Girls basketball: Neuqua Valley star guards hit big shots in win over Napervile North

The dynamic duo struck again on Thursday night.

Neuqua Valley star junior guards, Caitlin Washington and Kylee Norkus, took turns hitting big shots in Thursday's key DuPage Valley Conference game against Naperville North.

After the host Wildcats fell into an early hole, Washington sparked the comeback with her perimeter shooting and Norkus sealed the win with a solid second half in a 52-42 victory over the Huskies.

Washington scored 12 of her 20 points in the first half, while Norkus tallied 17 points to keep the Wildcats (16-9, 6-0) in first place in the conference and sweep the two-game regular season series game against the Huskies (17-8, 4-2).

Abby Drendel, a McKendree University recruit, scored a team-best 15 points, including 10 in the first quarter, to lead the Huskies, who scored just 13 points in the final 10 minutes.

"We both were helping and contributing to the team, so having that dynamic duo, as coach says to us, is amazing on the court," Norkus said. "It brought me chills to see (Caitlin) shoot like that. I'm really proud of her, and it definitely helped us during the game a lot and gets our momentum flowing."

Washington buried 2 three-pointers in the second quarter and added 2 more treys in the third quarter to finish with 4 three-pointers. All four of her threes were wide open and within the offense. Even Washington admitted she was shocked the Huskies let her shoot.

"I was surprised because I think I'm a pretty good shooter, and if they leave me open, I'm going to make them pay," Washington said. "I had a good shootaround earlier today, and that led into the game."

Norkus said Washington's fiery shooting gave the Wildcats some energy, especially after they trailed by margins of 7-2 and 15-8 in the first quarter. Washington buried 2 treys and scored 8 points to spark a 14-0 run during a 5-minute segment in the second quarter that turned a 20-11 deficit into a 25-20 lead.

"The game took a little bit of a turn when she started hitting those shots," Norkus said. "We started inflating and they started deflating."

The Huskies cut the deficit to 36-32 late in the third quarter, but couldn't get any closer the rest of the way. Norkus, who picked up an offer from Eastern Illinois on Monday, scored on a drive and hit a free throw to complete a 3-point play to extend the lead to 44-32 early in the fourth to lead the Wildcats to their seventh win in their last eight games.

"Naperville North is a really good team and well-coached and we knew they were going to come out with a lot of fire," Neuqua Valley coach Mike Williams said. "We took their best shot and kept fighting. It's difficult when you have a few people who can shoot. It's tough. It's a good problem to have, and Caitlin shot really good. We're starting to play well together, make some great passes and having great defensive efforts."

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