Senior Mike Blaszczyk and the Naperville Central boys basketball team were so dominant inside during the second quarter Friday at Glenbard North that the Redhawks converted three conventional three-point plays in a row.
On the third Blaszczyk lofted an inbounds pass from in front of the scorer's table to 6-foot-9 junior Nick Czarnowski for an easy basket and foul.
"There was a smaller guy fronting him so his back side was open. He's 6-9 and the other kid was like 6-2, so I just lobbed it up and he made a great catch and put it in," Blaszczyk said.
The quarter proved to be the difference in the Redhawks 80-68 DuPage Valley Conference victory in Carol Stream. The Redhawks (6-3, 2-2) scored 23 points, more than the entire first-half output by the Panthers (2-5, 1-3), for a 40-22 halftime advantage.
Both teams scored 23 points in an energetic fourth quarter during which the Panthers came as close as 59-51 with 6:10 to play.
"An offensive showcase," said Naperville Central coach Pete Kramer, whose team scored 80 in its season opener. "The first half we were outstanding defensively. I thought in the second half, we just kind of let up, like it was going to be easy. It wasn't easy."
Blaszczyk and Czarnowski led the Redhawks' scoring spree with 24 points apiece. Nicky Lopez and Austin Pauga combined for 13 points in the fourth quarter.
Glenbard North received 20-point efforts from Justin Jackson and Chip Flanigan, who drew two early fouls and sat much of the first half.
The Redhawks outscored the Panthers 23-9 in the second quarter by making 9 of 16 shots and all 5 free throws and dominating 12-2 in rebounds.
The Panthers had 1 offensive rebound the entire first half and 4 overall. Blaszczyk had 12 rebounds, 9 defensive, with 8 by Czarnowski.
"We did a great job of boxing out," Blaszczyk said. "Other than Nick, we're really not that big of a team. We have to box out in order to get rebounds."
Glenbard North came alive, using three 3s and two three-point plays to close to 57-45 entering the fourth quarter. After back-to-back baskets by Jackson cut the deficit to 59-51, Czarnowski made a key block and the Redhawks scored the next 4 points.
"(In the second half) we just played more aggressive defensively, offensively, cut harder," Glenbard North coach Joe Larson said. "We've got play with that kind of aggressive mentality. In the first half we were way too passive."