Kayla Sharples, new offense thrive in victory

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A new coach and a new system haven’t fazed Kayla Sharples and her Naperville North teammates one bit.

Sharples had 18 points, five steals and four assists in three quarters of action Tuesday night as the host Huskies made Jason Dycus’ debut as head coach a successful one by rolling past Metea Valley 66-58 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated.

“I’m proud of the girls,” Dycus said. “I think it’s a great way to open our season. I think all the credit goes to the girls and their hard work the last two weeks and I just couldn’t be more proud of them for starting the season they way we did.

“I think Metea is a very good program. We knew we had a challenge on our hands and the girls accepted the challenge.”

Sharples, a 5-11 junior, played in the post the past two years and was a dominant rebounder. In Naperville North’s new motion offense, she can play – and score – from anywhere.

Sharples scored eight points during the Huskies’ opening 17-8 run and she tallied them in a variety of ways, including two baseline drives, a 17-footer from the corner and a steal and driving layup. She got her fair share of minutes down low but also brought the ball up at times and played nearly every position, even sinking a three-pointer.

“It’s different for me,” Sharples said. “When I was going into high school I played, not point, but I played 2 and 3, and then I was the tallest on the team freshman year so [former coach Jacquie] Discipio made me play in the post and the past two years I’ve been doing that

“So it was definitely a change and shift for me, but I am still very comfortable with the ball so I’m able to do whatever position coach needs me and I’ll execute that as best as I can.”

The Huskies executed their new motion offense with devastating effect and it was far from a one-girl show. Six different players scored in the first half as the hosts opened up a 37-26 lead and then sophomore forward Katie Cores sank six consecutive shots, including a three-pointer, in the second half to extend the cushion to 60-36 with 6:14 left in the fourth quarter.

Cores had 13 of her 15 points after intermission, while Cece Pope added nine points and 10 rebounds, Sophia Fumagalli scored eight points and point guard Laurel Pereira chipped in six points, two assists and two steals for the Huskies, who shot 29-for-52 (56 percent) from the field and outrebounded Metea Valley 36-21.

“We’ve been working on sharing the basketball in practice and we don’t really care who gets the credit,” Dycus said. “We just want to move the ball and really put the defense in a position where it’s tough for them.

“Obviously it’s a new system that I’ve put in and fortunately the girls really listen well and they’ve bought into it and so far, so good.”

Sharples knows she will draw the most attention from opposing defense, so she was pleased with her team’s balanced attack.

“We wanted everyone to contribute and that was the main part,” Sharples said. “We didn’t want to rely on just one person and I love that everyone worked so hard and we had a lot of teamwork. Everyone contributed some big points that we needed, so I couldn’t be happier.”

Jenny Voytell led the Mustangs with 19 points, four rebounds and four steals. Kellee Clay added 10 points and Courtney Morgan nine points and five boards.

“We didn’t really implement anything that we worked on in the last two weeks offensively or defensively,” Metea Valley coach Kris Kalivas said.

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