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After missing shot after shot Friday, Glenbard North junior guard Justin Jackson saw his final inside attempt of the first half fall against Wheaton North.
"Couldn't buy a bucket, no," the 6-foot-1 Jackson said. "A lot of things I was missing were little tip-ins, trying to shoot over a 7-footer (Andrew Zelis). I knew I wanted to play better."
Jackson wasn't alone. But after a rough offensive first half, the rejuvenated Panthers found their scoring punch and held on for a 62-58 DuPage Valley Conference victory over Wheaton North in Carol Stream.
In the first half the Panthers (7-6, 3-3) made just 9 of 40 shots with two 3-pointers in trailing 27-22. They made 12 of 24 with four 3-pointers in the second half, including a 23-point third quarter to take the lead for good.
Chip Flanigan and Jackson had 14 and 11 points, respectively, in the second half.
"We knew second half if we came out with energy and fed off our crowd we'd do better and we did," said Jackson, who made 3 of 4 shots in after halftime with a 3 and three-point play.
"I just felt like I was missing a lot of easy stuff. I was able to finish more at the rim. I'm happy with the way I played, but I'm more happy with the way we were resilient even though we were down."
Wheaton North (6-7, 1-5) led by as many as eight. The Panthers returned to a man-to-man defense to begin the second half and accelerated the tempo. They tied the game at 34 on Ryan Sturto's 3 and went ahead 36-34 on Jackson free throws.
"I felt the defenses we tried in the second half got our pace going more, which gets our guys going," Glenbard North coach Joe Larson said. "We had some good looks first half. We just didn't make them. Their (2-3) zone was giving us problems, but I thought we adjusted well second half and the guys played more aggressive."
The 6-5 Flanigan found seams in the lane and asserted himself, scoring seven of the team's first nine second-half points. Behind 11 points from Jackson and Flanigan to start the fourth quarter, the Panthers pulled ahead 56-46 with 4:50 left.
The Falcons closed to 61-58 on a 3 by Matt Biegalski with 35 seconds left but missed a driving shot and the Panthers got the ball out of bounds. Jackson added a free throw with 7.8 seconds left.
"It was a little bit too little too late, but they kept battling," Wheaton North coach Dave Brackmann said. "Throughout the game, we had way too many turnovers and gave up way too many offensive rebounds. It's never easy to win on the road in the DVC, and we just had too many mistakes in the middle of that game and it ended up costing us."