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Girls basketball: East Aurora falls to Naperville Central

East Aurora's Desiree Rhodes (21) scoops up loose ball as Naperville Central's LaurDierking moves defend. | JCunningham~For Sun-Times Media

East Aurora's Desiree Rhodes (21) scoops up a loose ball as Naperville Central's Laura Dierking moves in to defend. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 12, 2013 11:12PM

You always want to get off to a fast start in your first postseason game, and that’s exactly what Naperville Central did Tuesday in the semifinals of the Class 4A Benet Regional.

The third-seeded Redhawks (24-6) jumped out to a 12-2 lead and were never threatened as they put in a commendable opening playoff performance to top 13th-seeded East Aurora, 49-35.

Naperville Central will play Benet Thursday in the regional finals.

“It was nice to get an early lead,” Naperville Central coach Andy Nussbaum said. “And then we extended it in each of the next two quarters. It’s been said that the first tournament game is the hardest and I agree with that to a certain degree. I thought we played solid, nothing flashy. I knew East Aurora would give us a game. But, we made them earn everything they got.”

“We played well all around,” said Victoria Trowbridge, who led the Redhawks with 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. “We played solid defense and crashed the boards really well.”

Laura Dierking had a fine all-around game for the Redhawks with 12 points, 10 rebounds and three steals.

“Laura does all the dirty work for us,” Nussbaum said. “She gets key rebounds and just does great with the little things.”

The Redhawks led 27-15 at the half and then extended the margin to 35-21 at the end of three quarters.

The Tomcats (12-13) made a mini-run in the fourth quarter to get the deficit to single digits, but the Redhawks regained control of the game down the stretch.

Tyshee Towner scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds for East Aurora. Desiree Rhodes scored 14 points with 10 rebounds.

“We got to within nine in the fourth quarter and then we missed two free throws that would have made it closer,” East Aurora coach Bill Anderson said. “Then they came down and capitalized on that. They made some big plays that we didn’t make. They have better skilled kids.”

Anderson had praise for Rhodes for her strong performance.

“Desiree was aggressive,” Anderson said. “She did a good job of attacking their bigs. I’m very proud of this team and I liked our effort tonight.”

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