HINSDALE – There’s a first time for everything, and one of those firsts came Tuesday for Tom McKenna. The Hinsdale Central girls basketball coach earned his first career win at York as the Red Devils improved to 5-0 on the young season.
“This is my fourth year at Hinsdale, but my first year that we have ever won at York,” McKenna said. “It’s pretty tough to win here, but I thought our defense and our offense was up to the challenge tonight. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Led by a dynamic offense and stellar shooting performances, the Red Devils won all four games and took home a championship trophy from the Hornet Tip-Off Tournament before topping the Dukes in a West Suburban Silver clash. As during the Thanksgiving tournament at Hinsdale South, Gabrielle Rush’s deft scoring prowess paced the Red Devils in the win over York.
The three-year varsity starting guard – who set a school record with 39 points during the team’s first game of the season against St. Ignatius – tallied 28 points Tuesday, going 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and 10-of-11 from the free throw line.
Payton Katich was perfect from the field, pitching in eight points, and Maddie Roglich added seven points. The Red Devils caught fire in the second quarter, padding an early lead and taking a 31-22 advantage into the locker room.
York answered with a strong start to the third quarter, opening the half with a 6-0 run and pulling within two points with under three minutes to play in the frame. But Rush took matters into her own hands, knocking down a step-back 3-pointer with 51 seconds left in the third.
The home team clawed back again in the final frame, cutting the deficit to three before center Jenna Broz’s only bucket – a turn around jumper in the low block – sealed the win for the Red Devils.
After the game, McKenna credited his team’s fortitude and ability to quell York’s offensive outbursts.
“York is so well coached and we knew they were going to make a run in the second half,” McKenna said. “We put out our four seniors and Rush, who have never won here. They were able to remain composed and hit some key shots. It’s a great win for this team.”
Hinsdale Central will go on the road to face Glenbard West at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
After losing to Lemont in the season opener on Nov. 18, Mackenzie Kern scored 17 points to lead Hinsdale South to its first win of the season – a 46-34 victory over Glenbard West Nov. 20.
South then alternated wins and losses, going 2-2 and taking fourth place at their own Hornet Tip-Off Tournament.
Playing host during the nine-day tournament that stretched over the Thanksgiving weekend, Hinsdale South defeated Plainfield South 45-30 in the first round, then beat Reavis 50-48 in the third round. The Hornets finished fourth in the tourney.
The Hornets opened West Suburban Gold conference player with a 56-50 victory over Morton on Tuesday, pushing their overall record to 4-3. Abby Lewis was a point shy of a double-double with 9 points and 10 rebounds. Sydney Kopp and Kern added 12 and 11 points, respectively.