Quinten Payne saw the broom held high amid the St. Charles East student section. He was not amused.
"I said there's no way they're sweeping us tonight," said the St. Charles North senior guard. "I'm not letting my senior year or any of our other guys go out like that, letting us go out with them beating us on our home floor."
St. Charles North held court Saturday, beating the Saints for the first time in three tries this season, 62-49. The Loyola-bound Payne scored a game-high 22 points and the North Stars made 11 of 15 fourth-quarter free throws to hold off their rival in Upstate Eight River play.
St. Charles North (13-8, 6-4) employed a full-court press to fuel a 13-4 start and led by 15 at halftime. St. Charles East (13-8, 6-3) made the inevitable push to close within three early in the fourth quarter before the North Stars ended the game on a 17-7 run.
"I think if yesterday didn't happen we don't close the game out as well today. I think that was important," North Stars coach Tom Poulin said, citing Friday's 45-44 overtime win against Batavia. "We didn't look real good down the stretch against Batavia and today I thought we did a good job of being patient with the lead in the fourth quarter."
After St. Charles East's A.J. Washington capped a fastbreak with a basket from Cole Gentry's assist for a 4-2 Saints lead, the Stars' Ryan Thomas canned a 3 and Payne got his pullup game going to pace that 13-4 start while East went scoreless for more than three minutes.
Dom Adduci, the junior guard who led the Saints with 20 points, heated up with a pair of 3s, but St. Charles North forward Kyle Swanson hit a 26-foot, off-balance shot to give his team an 18-12 lead after one quarter.
Swanson then started marching to the foul line, where he made 11 of 12 on the night. St. Charles North held East to 3-of-13 shooting from the floor in the second quarter, and a late burst off the bench by 6-foot-7 Chris Preocanin -- 2 blocks, 2 baskets -- had the Stars up 36-21 at halftime.
"We were running our offense," said Swanson, who scored 14 points with 11 rebounds. "We were catching them in bad close-outs. We were out to attack the lane and we were going in there strong. For the most part we hit our free throws."
Poulin noted North Stars assistant Rob Prentiss had cautioned against a St. Charles East run, which proved correct. Gentry and Adduci responded to a 42-25 third-quarter deficit with a 14-2 run to enter the fourth trailing only 45-39.
Adduci scored on a hard layup, was fouled and made the free throw to get the Saints within 45-42 with 6:51 to play. Payne stopped the bleeding on a reverse layup from a Swanson assist, and a Swanson steal came in the midst of another three-minute Saints scoreless streak.
St. Charles East's last gasp was a pair of David Mason free throws to pull within 52-46 with 1:44 to play. Payne answered quickly on an Alec Goetz assist, and Tony Neari and especially Swanson were a perfect 8-of-8 from the foul line.
"The old adage, it's always tough to beat a team three times," said St. Charles East coach Patrick Woods.
"They're at their place," Woods said, "they came off not their best performance last night, they had a lot of energy, good crowd, and they hit shots. They shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, and I thought we did a much better job in the second half. We outplayed them in the second half but it's 32 minutes and not 16."