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Both sides surprised, one side happy.
Glenbard East's boys basketball team opened DuPage Valley Conference play on a rousing note by blasting Naperville Central 59-41 Friday in Lombard.
The game actually wasn't that close. Once the Rams (4-1, 1-0) slammed Naperville Central (3-2, 0-1) with a 29-2 run from the final two minutes of the first quarter to the final minute of the second, the outcome was never in doubt.
"The fans were out there hollering and we clicked on all cylinders," said Rams senior point guard Tahron Harvey.
Considering both teams are expected to challenge West Aurora for the DVC title, no one saw this blowout coming. Certainly not after Naperville Central broke out to a 10-5 lead six minutes into the game.
Working inside-out, Redhawks center Nick Czarnowski scored twice and the Redhawks nailed a couple of 3-pointers. From that point on, however, the snowball just kept rolling against Naperville Central.
"We had a good week of practice and came in feeling good," said Redhawks coach Pete Kramer. "Strong start and we just started missing easy looks. We gave them some momentum and it spread quickly. We were beat in all phases of the game. They were outstanding tonight."
A Mike Kjeldsen 3-pointer started the 29-2 barrage that saw six players score for the Rams, who forced 8 second-quarter turnovers. Glenbard East held the Redhawks scoreless for three minutes before a Czarnowski bucket, then held them scoreless for another 4:38 until another Czarnowski basket stopped the bleeding at 34-14 with 22 seconds left in the first half.
"We had our tempo going, we were picking up the defense, we were getting deflections," said Kjeldsen, who scored 16 points. "We started pushing down the floor. We were hitting our teammates for open looks and we all just started hitting shots."
Harvey, who led all scorers with 18 points, owned the third quarter while going on a personal 11-2 run. That ended his night, and the other starters gradually left the game for good.
Czarnowski scored all 8 of his points in the first half to lead Naperville Central.
"That was good, I'm not going to lie to you," said Glenbard East coach Scott Miller. "We're extremely proud of our guys. I felt like we were kind of inching towards this."
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