After a wild week that featured a huge win followed by a pair of tough losses, Naperville Central wanted a strong game start to finish Friday night.
The Redhawks got just that and host Wheaton Warrenville South ended up on the wrong end of a 65-38 score. Naperville Central (14-8, 7-3 DuPage Valley Conference) jumped ahead 13-0 as three players connected on 3-pointers and then used a 26-point third quarter to put the game away.
"We were ready to get back on track," said guard Ryan Antony, who dropped in a 3 on the team's first possession and led all scorers with 8 first-half points. "We knew we had tough opponents last week, but the season's a grind and you've got to keep on working hard. We were just ready to get back to our winning ways."
The fast start by the visitors was just too much for the Tigers to overcome, but a solid second quarter had them trailing 31-19 at the half and still some thoughts of maybe making a run after the intermission.
But forward Mike Blaszczyk caught fire in the third quarter for 12 points for the Redhawks, and center Nick Czarnowski muscled his way inside for 7 more points as the 26-13 quarter left Naperville Central in command at 57-32 heading into the final eight minutes of play.
The Redhawks needed a game like this after their roller coaster of a week saw them knock off DVC-leading Glenbard East last Friday only to suffer tough losses to Benet Academy and West Aurora in the following four days.
"It was a good win for us coming out and playing loose," Naperville Central coach Pete Kramer said. "We had three tough games in a row. Tonight we talked at halftime about not even letting them get a sniff of thinking they were going to win the game, so we jumped on them right away and we did that."
With Blaszczyk scoring three quick baskets and then Nicky Lopez and Blaszczyk each connecting from outside the arc, the Redhawks stormed out of the gates in the third quarter with a 14-2 blitz for a 45-21 lead before Michael Kramer recorded a three-point play for Wheaton Warrenville South.
"They're a good team and they've been playing well and that showed tonight," Tigers coach Bob Szorc said after his team fell to 5-17 overall and 1-9 in the DVC. "Good teams know how to put a team down and they did that. They didn't let us make a run. Give them credit."
Blaszczyk led a balanced Redhawks attack with 16 points and also added 7 rebounds. Antony and Czarnowski each tallied 12 points, and Czarnowski shared the team rebounding high of 7 with Blaszczyk.
For the Tigers, Kramer led the way with 12 points and 6 boards and sophomore Keishawn Watson provided a spark off the bench with three field goals in the first quarter and a 3-pointer in the second half to finish with 9 points.