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To Naperville North, its comeback victory was just a matter of attitude readjustment.
The Huskies changed their attitude toward defense in the second half and left Wheaton Warrenville South with a 53-41 DuPage Valley Conference boys basketball victory Friday night.
"Bottom line, in the first half we weren't playing any defense," Huskies senior Derek Westman said. "We weren't getting any rebounds. I think they had 8 offensive rebounds on us. The second half we toughened up, got big and started getting some rebounds and played some defense. That's what won us the game."
"After we got down in the stance and played a little defense the second half, we turned around," added Huskies coach Jeff Powers. "I think there was at the end 10 stops in a row. (Tigers coach Bob) Szorc did a great job, he had a great game plan, kept us at bay most of the time. Their kids played extremely hard."
The Huskies' improved defense took its biggest toll on the Tigers in the fourth quarter. The Huskies (4-2, 2-0) quickly turned an even game into one with a little breathing room by holding the Tigers to 1-of-14 shooting in the final eight minutes.
"Give credit to them, but I thought we got some good looks," said Szorc, whose team was playing only its second game of the season, the first a 56-29 loss at West Aurora last week. "The sign of a young team is when a game gets tight, the more experienced team takes over. We've got to execute better. ... I'm very proud of our effort and very proud of them bouncing back and doing what they did tonight."
WW South (0-2, 0-2) led most of the first three quarters but never by more than 6 points.
"I thought the biggest possessions of the game were when we were up 28-22 and then they got it back to a tie ballgame," Szorc said of the third quarter. "That was the turning point, it seemed like. At 40-40 you saw a team that's been battle-tested a little bit this year win the war."
The Tigers led 38-35 with 6:47 to play after a Keishawn Watson free throw, but Naperville North tied the game with a Brendan Herbstritt 3-pointer. Herbstritt scored 10 points off the bench.
"He was huge, he was huge today," Westman said. "This is his first game, and he hit some big 3s, kept us in the game."
The Huskies took the lead for good at 43-40 with 4:29 to play on a 3-pointer by freshman guard Jelani McClain, and senior Bryan LoLordo followed with another 3 at the 3:43 mark to give the Huskies momentum. The rest of the scoring came at the free-throw line.
Westman scored a game-high 17 points, and LoLordo added 10.
"It's mostly my teammates," Westman said. "They kept getting the ball and passing it down to me on the low block, and they just weren't guarding it, so I was getting some easy layups. I credit that to them."
Matt Kienzle led the Tigers with 12 points, and Michael Kramer scored 11.
"Our guys are disappointed, but big strides made in a week from where we've been," Szorc said.