A late surge helps Neuqua Valley get by Naperville Central in the girls basketball regional semis

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The postseason has arrived for girls basketball as Neuqua Valley plays the host in its own regional semifinal holding the fifth seed. The Wildcats take on the twelve-seeded Naperville Central Redhawks who is hoping to pull the upset after being swept by Neuqua in the regular season. These two teams met in the 2020 regional semifinal, where the Wildcats pulled the upset after the Redhawks swept the regular season slate. This highlight is sponsored by BMO.

Both teams catch fire right away as Emerson Burke from Naperville Central lobs the ball to Adriana Villanova who puts it in to even the score at seven.

10-9 Neuqua with the lead and Catilin Washington starts her attack right away by dribbling, and she pulls up for three and hits it.

The Redhawks show some great ball movement and then Burke tries out a three and the bank is open for the freshman.

Kylee Norkus gets rolling in the first half

Later on for Neuqua, Kylee Norkus step right up. Zoe Navarro finds the Evansville commit and she also hits a three.

Naperville Central keeps on fighting as Villanova finds Eleni Nicoloudes who goes off the glass for two.

On the next Central possession, Erin Hackett has the ball and attempts a tough shot that goes in to keep her team within three trailing 24-21.

Norkus and the Wildcats have a response as Nalia Clifford passes to Norkus and she pulls the fake and lays it in after the euro step.

Clifford stays involved by getting a steal and then hits the gas, going all the way to the rim, and scores with the foul. The Wildcats grow their lead to 31-22.

Each teams seems to have a response ready. Late in the second quarter it’s Hackett driving and scoring with a little roll. The Redhawks trail 34-30.

With the half approaching Zoe Navarro is in the corner and sinks the trifecta. The Wildcats lead 40-31 heading into the break.

Back comes Norkus in the third quarter. Here, she gets the board and keeps the possession alive, and in the end, it results in her scoring. Norkus shows no quit and that has Neuqua up by double digits 44-34.

The Redhawks remain on point so Burke fakes out everyone and that leads to Annabelle Kritzer dropping in a basket of her own.

Central is up next in a game of runs as we hit the fourth quarter. Villanova is in the right spot to tap it in and this game is tied at 48.

Tessa Williams gives the Hawks the lead

Neuqua is up by two when Burke finds Tessa Williams who takes a three and kaboom. The Redhawks take the lead 51-50 which caps off a 17-6 run for the red and white.

Deep in the fourth, the Wildcats are trailing by two, but seniors like Caitlin Washington come to the rescue as she scores with the foul. The three-point play puts Neuqua back in front 57-56.

Wildcats live to play in the regional final

It stays that way from that point on, and Norkus continues her 29-point night with a steal and cruises all the way to the rim. The Wildcats end the game on a 15-0 run, and they’re alive to play another day after a 68-56 win. Neuqua Valley girls basketball will take on Benet Academy in the regional final.

For more prep sports highlights, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page!