Naperville Central had never started 0-2 in Andy Nussbaum’s 26-year tenure until last week.
Hannah Swarm made sure it wouldn’t be an 0-3 start.
The sophomore guard erupted for 22 points, seven rebounds and four steals – all career highs – to lead the host Redhawks to a 59-36 victory over Oswego East on Tuesday at the Naperville Central Tip-Off Tournament.
Swarm made her first five shots, all from three-point range, and finished with six three-pointers. She was 6-for-8 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line.
“Saturday I was like 0-for-10, so I really focused on my shooting in practice and it just worked tonight,” Swarm said. “I think it just took the first few games and now I’m really settled in.”
That’s good for the Redhawks (1-2) because junior guard Emily Kraft sprained an ankle in practice Monday and will miss at least two weeks. Kraft and fellow co-captain Shannon Ryan are Naperville Central’s best shooters.
“Emily has been very, very good, but Hanna got an opportunity to shoot tonight and I thought she did well,” Nussbaum said. “We got her the ball, which was good. I don’t know whether it’s going to be December or January, but Emily’s going to get back. We want to get better while she’s not here.”
Swarm’s effort was part of a long-distance barrage that saw the Redhawks sink 11-of-25 attempts from beyond the arc. Ryan and Lisa Tassi each made two treys and Katie Moran had the other.
Eight of the threes came in the opening half as Naperville Central opened up a 30-18 lead. The Redhawks stretched that to 42-25 when Ryan converted a Kotryna Staputyte steal into a fast-break layup.
Oswego East (1-3), which was without injured senior guard Julianna Wadsworth, scored the next seven points, prompting Nussbaum to burn a timeout. The Redhawks went right back to Swarm, who swished a three from the right wing with 6:55 left in the fourth quarter to trigger a 10-0 run.
“After the weekend we had, I was real pleased with the way we played,” Nussbaum said. “I thought there was a lot of good teamwork out there tonight, people passing the ball. I’m really encouraged.”
Ryan finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Tassi and Moran had six points each and Staputyte and Haley Minick four points apiece.
Nia Flowers scored 14 points on 5-for-17 shooting to lead the Wolves, who continued a troubling trend by shooting 15-for-61 from the floor.
“I think we’ve had that too many times,” Oswego East coach Abe Carretto said. “We had a poor shooting game against Metea and again tonight, but our main concern is our defense. It is just not where it should be.
“No way we should give up that many three-point opportunities and second-chance opportunities. We had a lot of times where we had our hands on the ball, but we’re not holding on to it. Against a good shooting team that’s hot, you better get all the missed shots you can, because if they get it back, they’re probably going to make it.”