Clinging to a 43-40 lead early in the fourth quarter, St. Charles North's boys basketball team received a big boost from its bench against visiting Kaneland Tuesday night.
Sophomore reserve guard Jack Callaghan scored 11 of his team-leading 13 points during a 13-0 fourth-quarter surge as the North Stars (15-8) pulled away for a 61-50 nonconference triumph over the Knights (13-10) in St. Charles.
Callaghan connected on all 4 of his fourth-quarter shots, 3 of them coming from beyond the arc, as the North Stars extended their lead to 56-40 with 4:51 remaining.
"I think our depth really showed tonight," said North Stars coach Tom Poulin, whose team earned its fourth consecutive victory. "We went really deep on the bench searching for somebody to kind of impact the game, and Jack (Callaghan) stepped up.
"He can shoot it but he's a pass-first type of guy," added Poulin. "If he's open, we feel good about it going in."
It was simply a matter of him doing his job for Callaghan, who also was playing for his older teammates.
"It was the last home game for the seniors so it was important to them," said Callaghan. "I was open and my teammates got it to me so it was in rhythm."
The North Stars' other basket during their 13-0 run came off the fast-break, as Quinten Payne (11 points, 5 assists) rebounded a Kaneland miss, raced down court and found senior guard Tony Neari (5 points, 7 assists), who delivered a picture-perfect pass to senior forward Matt Pretet for an easy layup -- his lone 2 points of the contest.
"When we went to our bench, I thought we shared the ball very well," said Poulin, "and I thought we picked up our intensity defensively."
Kaneland, which dropped its fourth straight game, kept things close for 3-plus quarters. The Knights trailed 18-16 after the first quarter before a putback by Matt Limbrunner and layup from John Pruett knotted the game at 28-28 at the intermission.
"I'm really encouraged," said Knights coach Brian Johnson. "We struggled in different facets the previous three games but I thought for three quarters we competed with a very good team.
"Even though it was a loss -- and nobody likes losing -- there were definitely some positives to take out of it," added Johnson.
Limbrunner provided some of them with his game-high 19 points, while junior guard Tyler Carlson added 11 points.
"I challenged him (Limbrunner) against Wheaton Academy during halftime and he had a nice second half against Wheaton Academy," said Johnson. "I thought he played an excellent game tonight. I don't think he sat until the end there."
The North Stars also received contributions from Justin Stanko (8 points), Alec Goetz (7 points, 3 assists), Ryan Thomas (6 points), Chris Preocanin (4 points), and Jake Ludwig, whose step-back 3-pointer to beat the third-quarter buzzer made it 43-37.
Earlier in the third quarter, Johnson was whistled for a technical foul after his shoe sailed into the air and landed past center court while arguing a blocking foul on Limbrunner.
"I won't be wearing these shoes anymore," joked Johnson. "That was a little goofy."
"I told him (Johnson) that he's got to get some shoes with laces -- they're slip-ons," said Poulin. "But really he does a great job with his team. I thought his kids outhustled us the majority of the game. We're going to play Kaneland every year that we're both coaching.
"I think it's going to be a good rivalry as the years go on," added Poulin.