Naperville North graduated a superstar in Greta Kampschroeder. They gained another one in Kenzie Hare.
The senior transfer from Bartlett put on a show Monday night in the Huskies’ 75-59 nonconference victory over Batavia. Needing 37 points to reach the 2,000-point mark for her career, Hare poured in 41 points as Naperville North ran its winning streak to eight games to begin the 2021-22 season.
“It’s been super fun,” said Hare, who was averaging 20 points a game entering Monday in her first season in a Huskies uniform. “Our team is literally a family. We are super close. And the more we share the ball, the better we play. Our energy was high tonight and our fan section was amazing. We were moving the ball and were able to put the ball in the basket.”
Nobody did that better then Hare, who reached the special milestone with a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, which was her seventh trifecta of the game. She ended her night with an offensive rebound and basket, falling a little short of her career-high 43-point output as a sophomore.
“I’m thankful for all of my teammates and coaches who have helped me get there,” the St. Louis recruit said. “It’s not all me. I’m super grateful for all involved.”
Naperville North, coming off a 60-51 win over Barrington at the Chicagoland Invitational Showcase at Fremd, began the game on a 13-2 spurt and led 21-8 at the end of the first quarter. Sarah Crossett had six points and seven rebounds in the quarter and finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and two steals.
“That’s our focus at the beginning of the game, getting the ball out and pushing it in transition,” Crossett said. “That’s helped us ride the way and get leads early.
“It’s (the 8-0 start to the season) amazing. It is definitely a testament to our coaches and their morals and values. Every girl on this team contributes in a big way. They all know their roles and they excel in those roles. We are best friends off the court but we push each other on the court. It’s a great environment.”
Upping the margin to 38-24 by half, the Huskies increased the advantage to as many as 16 in the third quarter. Peyton Fenner added nine points and Layla Henderson contributed strong defense as well as five points and seven rebounds.
“Kenzie plays with the biggest smile on her face,” said Naperville North coach Erin Colletti, whose team went 12-1 last season. “She loves the game, she enjoys playing it and she loves her teammates. Her moving into the district has been the biggest blessing. We are so lucky to have her and she molded immediately with her teammates. The team chemistry hasn’t skipped a beat.
“And then we have multiple other players who have played on the varsity since their freshman year. We have a ton of experience playing together and playing with Greta made everybody better. They’ve stepped up to another level and then you insert Kenzie who is such an unselfish teammate.”
Batavia (6-2), who also notched a 57-54 win over Butler Prep at Fremd on Saturday, fought back early in the fourth, slicing the deficit to nine points on three different occasions. But despite 29 points and seven rebounds from Wisconsin recruit Tessa Towers, Batavia could get no closer. Brooke Carlson also had 14 points and two steals.
“Kenzie is such a good player,” said Towers, who plays AAU ball with Hare. “She can knock down any shot and it’s tough to keep her from shooting threes. But we fought hard. I feel like in this game our energy was down a little bit. Late in that third quarter our energy was up and we were able to get within nine. We just have to bring that energy the whole four quarters.”