Five Huskies scored in double figures Friday night, yet Naperville North coach Jeff Powers was not smiling much as he walked off he court.
Powers wasn't thrilled with the way his team played defense in its conference opener, an 84-76 victory by host Glenbard North. And as teams will learn in a hurry this season, if you don't defend well against the likes of Jeremiah Fleming and Chip Flanigan, you won't be smiling much.
Fleming connected on five 3-pointers while exploding for 19 points in the first half on Friday. Flanigan, meanwhile, burned Naperville North down low for 19 second-half points. All together, the two combined for 57 pointsm which helped Glenbard North (4-1, 1-0) hold off a Huskies squad that was sparked by Chris Gajcak, who scored 15 points off the bench, all in the second half.
"We didn't play a lot of defense. We were like shadows out there," Powers said after his team fell to 3-2 overall and 0-1 in the DVC. "You gotta play defense."
While the Huskies' coach may not have liked his team's defensive effort, much of the credit has to go to the Panthers, who will create problems for most defenses when they play like they did on this night.
Fleming made all four of his 3-point shots in the opening quarter as Glenbard North claimed a 22-13 lead. The margin grew to 43-30 at the break after Fleming added 7 more points in the second quarter and Flanigan and Kendall Holbert each added 3s.
"My teammates got me the ball and we got a lot of open looks and screens," said Fleming, who knocked down long-range jumpers from the corners, from up top and even banked in a 3 off the glass. "I was feeling it tonight."
With Baylor Griffin and Gajcak each coming up big in the second half, Naperville North was able to stay close, but just had no answer for Flanigan, who made 6 of 6 shots in the third quarter and finished with 29 points and 7 rebounds on the night.
"Coach told us they were going to press in the second half and they know about Jeremiah so I knew they'd be up the floor," the 6-foot-5 senior said. "So I took advantage and got past my man."
Griffin scored 13 of his team-leading 17 points in the second half as Naperville North trimmed a 70-54 fourth-quarter deficit down to 78-72 following a 3-pointer from Gajcak, but Fleming hit 3 of 4 free throws late to seal the win for the Panthers.