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Inside or out, Elgin had no answers for St. Charles North Saturday night in St. Charles.
The North Stars nailed eight 3-point shots, and they were just as strong inside led by Quinten Payne showcasing his low-post moves as they overpowered the Maroons 44-25 on the glass and by an even larger margin on the scoreboard, 67-36.
St. Charles North (6-3, 3-1 in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division) limited Elgin (5-5, 1-3) to just 10 field goals and 24.3 percent shooting from the field.
"I think that was our best effort defensively, our best focus and I thought we shared the ball offensively," North Stars coach Tom Poulin said. "If we play defense like that and commit ourselves on the defensive end and on the glass you can play with anybody. I think this is a great film to use to show what we've been preaching works."
The North Stars came out firing, starting with back-to-back 3s from Payne and Alec Goetz as they built their lead to 9-0 before Arie Williams put Elgin on the board with his own 3.
Elgin closed the first quarter on a 12-2 run to take what turned out to be its only lead of the game, 12-11. A Payne drive and Tony Neari 3-point shot opened the second quarter as the North Stars again scored the first 9 points of the quarter to go up 20-11.
A key moment came with the North Stars leading 22-16 when Williams was whistled for his third foul. He sat the final 3:18 of the first half as St. Charles North extended its advantage to 30-18 at halftime.
"That completely changed the game I thought," Poulin said.
Elgin coach Mike Sitter pointed to several other factors such as 4-of-9 free-throw shooting — 14 for 23 for the game — for the halftime deficit.
"We didn't have a lot of energy from the very beginning," Sitter said. "We missed free throws and layups and gave up offensive rebounds. We didn't do the little things. We're not good enough to do that."
After scoring 11 first-half points, Payne picked up where he left off in the second half. He made three straight field goals inside including a thunderous two-hand slam on a baseline drive before stepping back for a long 3 to cap his 23-point night.
"He's strong and they were guarding him with a guard and we wanted to get it (the entry pass) off a reversal or two so it wasn't as easy for them to help with their weakside defender," Poulin said.
Poulin pulled his starters midway through the fourth quarter after doubling the Maroons at 56-28, and the North Stars bench came in and stayed just as hot as the starters to complete 11-of-12 shooting in the final quarter. Camden Cotter scored 7 points in the final 3:27, the last 3 from behind the arc on a feed from Keith Hedges, for the 31-point final margin.
Goetz joined Payne in double figures for the North Stars with 12 points while Williams led Elgin with 12.
"We tried to limit what Arie can get, make him shoot as far as he can or make him shoot over our big guys instead of getting in and finishing," Payne said. "I thought everybody did a great job collapsing making him kick or shoot it over them."
Five North Stars pulled down at least 5 rebounds led by shooting guard Goetz with 8.
"Rebounding is not about height, it's about effort and execution and we didn't put a body on anyone tonight," Sitter said.
Chris Preocanin gave the North Stars a spark off the bench with 7 points, 5 rebounds and a block, making 3 of his 4 free throws and scoring inside on a hook shot.
"Chris is giving it everything he has when he goes in there," Poulin said. "We really feel he makes us so much stronger and he can really impact the game. When he gives us his best effort he's going to make a positive impact on the game. He's a great kid and works hard and it's great to see him rewarded like this."