It wasn't as if the Bartlett boys basketball team played poor defense in the first half Tuesday night.
The Hawks were just that much better in the second half.
Bartlett held St. Charles North to just 12 second-half points to rally from a 6-point halftime deficit to beat the North Starts, 46-38, in an Upstate Eight Conference crossover matchup in Bartlett.
"We talked about at halftime being a little more aggressive on their ball picks, getting through things and getting hands up," Hawks coach Jim Wolfsmith said. "I thought we got phenomenal defense by Lance (Whitaker) on Quinten (Payne) in the second half."
The North Stars (9-6) shot 10-of-24 and grabbed 9 offensive rebounds in the first half to take a 26-20 lead at halftime. The Hawks (13-4) held STC North to just 4-of-18 shooting in the final two quarters. They allowed only 2 offensive rebounds in the second half and forced 7 second-half turnovers. STC North turned the ball over only twice in the first half.
"I thought our shot selection was poor," North Stars coach Tom Poulin said. "We didn't get many open looks. They defended well. We didn't execute real well."
The Hawks scored the first 8 points of the second half, including getting a pair of 3-pointers from Marcus Aluquin, to take a 28-26 lead, their first of the game. Kyle Swanson's 3-pointer with 3:51 remaining in the third quarter was STC North's only basket of the quarter and gave the North Stars a 29-28 lead. Bartlett scored the final 5 points of the quarter to take a 33-29 lead into the fourth.
STC North didn't score in the opening 4 minutes of the fourth and hit just 3 field goals in the quarter. Whitaker hit 8-of-10 free throws in the fourth for the Hawks.
"We wanted to make sure we contained Quinten, keep him of the boards and contested all his shots," Whitaker said. "I thought we did a pretty good job of that."
Payne led the North Stars with 14 points, but only 2 in the second half on 1-of-8 shooting. Swanson hit three 3-pointers to score 9 points.
Whitaker scored a game-high 19 points, 12 in the second half. Jon Moss added 8 points for Bartlett.
"We got beat tonight. Bartlett flat out beat us over the course of 32 minutes," Poulin said. "We might have had spurts here or there. But they were the better the basketball team tonight."