HANOVER PARK, N.J. - Hanover Park’s Lauren Daugherty and Liana Ilutzi have been playing together for four years and their chemistry on the court reflects it.
“They are like the Stockton and Malone of our team,” Hornets’ head coach Doug Wear.
The two seniors looked like the dominant Hall of Fame Utah Jazz teammates in Hanover Park’s 58-15 win over Madison Thursday night. Daugherty scored 18 points, while Ilutzi chipped in with 17 points herself.
The game started off close with Hanover Park leading 12-6 after the first quarter as the Hornets struggled from the field, including six missed three pointers.
However, the second quarter proved to be pivotal as Hanover Park flexed their muscle and exploded for 30 points, while holding Madison to just two points the entire quarter.
Daugherty did most of her damage during the second period, scoring eight of her 18 points. Ilutzi scored 10 points, while forcing multiple turnovers and finding various teammates for easy buckets.
Ilutzi’s defensive energy sparked her offense during the defining stretch.
“I was pressuring hard on defense and providing good energy and it transferred over to the offensive end for me,” she said.
Wear noted his team’s effort on both the defensive and offensive end as the reason for the second quarter success.
“We had great intensity on the defensive end and our man defense was tough,” Wear said. “We also started hitting our shots from the outside which opened things up on the inside and allowed our inside players to get good looks.”
After leading 42-8 at the half, the Hornets and Dodgers combined for 14 points for the entire third quarter, with the Hornets defense continuing to stifle the Dodgers, allowing only two points. Daugherty and Ilutzi scored five points apiece to pace the Hornets.
Daugherty’s final basket would prove to be monumental, as it was her 1,000th point in her high school career.
“It felt amazing to achieve such a feat as it has been a goal of mine since I was a freshman,” Daugherty said.
Ilutzi was just as happy for her.
“It is a great accomplishment and she is such a hard worker that it is great to see her get to 1,000 points,” Ilutzi said.
Hanover Park’s Maria Santora added eight points for the Hornets to go along with the efforts of Daugherty and Ilutzi.
Bridget McAndrew led the Dodgers with five points.