Villa Park, 01/18/13--Hinsdale Central's Gabrielle Rush fights for a steal from Warren's Kylie Nedelka. Hinsdale Central played Warren Township in the 23rd Annual McDonald's girls basketball Shootout Friday evening. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Hinsdale Central is trying to keep from leaning on sophomore Gabrielle Rush too much for scoring.
But there are times like Friday night when it’s hard to keep that from happening.
When Rush’s outside shot is on, she can make baskets from just about anywhere on the court.
She equalled her career high with five three-pointers, putting together some highlight reel moves while exhibiting fadeaway shots and even launching a few attempts from NBA range.
Rush finished with 27 points on 9-of-18 shooting, going 5-for- 9 on three-pointers and making all four of her free throws in a 45-35 victory over Warren (12-9) in the 32nd annual McDonald’s Shootout at Willowbrook in Villa Park.
“Sometimes you do (rely on Rush),” Devils coach Tom McKenna said. “Sometimes she’s on.”
It was Rush time in the third quarter. She scored 11 points and outscored Warren, which had five. At the end of the period, Rush had 27 points to Warren’s 26.
The first game of Rush’s career was a 29-point outing against Naperville Central last season. Her career-high 32 points with five 3-pointers came in the second game of this season at Hinsdale South, a 58-48 win, at the Thanksgiving tournament.
“I don’t feel that pressure at all (to score), but I have a lot of confidence,” Rush said. “Everyone is stepping up and making big-time shots. We have people that make good plays and good passes. We have a ton of chemistry.”
McKenna is trying to ensure that Rush does not need to carry the scoring.
“She has not been that dominant when she has to score more than half of the points,” McKenna said. “She has improved a lot. She’s young.”
The win gave Hinsdale its fourth win in its five games, but the Devils (14-6, 7-2) lost Saturday, 50-44, at York (12-10, 4-5) to fall behind in the West Suburban Silver race.
Winning a share of the conference title is not a lost goal for Hinsdale, which plays first place Proviso West Jan. 29 at home. The Devils remain one game behind in the standings with games remaining at Downers North Jan. 25, at home against Oak Park-River Forest Jan. 26 and against Proviso West.
McKenna has added a few offensive twists to counter what opponents have learned through the first part of the season.
“We have a couple of new plays running the pick and roll,” Rush said. “We added new things in case teams have scouted our plays.”