St. Charles North boys basketball coach Tom Poulin could have used the excuse that the North Stars were playing their third game in four days, but he would have none of it.
"These are strong kids, " said Poulin. " I don't think fatigue was a factor."
After coming off an emotional win over rival St. Charles East Saturday night, the North Stars traveled to Norridge to take on St. Patrick from Chicago in the Ridgewood High School Shootout Sunday.
The Shamrocks cashed in at the free throw line, hitting 23 of 29 including 13 of 16 in the fourth quarter, to eek out a 66-62 win.
"We came here," said Poulin, " to find out what we were made of. We had some poor decisions late in the game that were costly. Our rotation on defense was not good. On offense we wanted to work for high percentage shots but we rushed things instead of being patient."
Yet, St. Charles North (5-2) gave the Shamrocks (5-1) all they could handle.
Jake Ludwig scored 24 points including 16 in the fourth quarter when the North Stars made their run.
"He had a heckuva good game for us," said Poulin.
St. Patrick took advantage of five St. Charles North turnovers to help open a 43-36 lead at the end of three quarters.
A basket by Jack Callaghan (22 points, 4 3-pointers, 6 rebound) and 8 straight points by Ludwig including a 4-point play gave the North Stars a 46-45 lead with 5:10 left in the contest.
The Shamrocks' Nicholas Hoffman (21 points., 4 rebounds, 5 assists) put St. Patrick ahead 54-52 following a basket and a steal that led to 2 free throws.
Ludwig tied the game at 54 with an inside basket with 3:06 left.
A 3-pointer from Adrian Pierzchanowski's (15 points) at 2:19 followed by 3 Shamrock free throws gave St. Patrick a 60-54 edge.
Alec Goetz (10 points, 4 assists) hit a 3-pointer for the North Stars to cut the lead to 60-57 with 54 seconds left.
With three seconds left Ludwig hit an NBA distance 3-pointer to make the score 64-62. St. Charles North fouled Hoffman and he hit 2 free throws with five second left.
"They attacked our zone (2-3). We tried to put two people on the ball but they would make a good pass," said Poulin.
"I don't think we were in the game mentally," said Ludwig. "They got some big 3-point baskets on us. In the fourth quarter I felt that I needed to be more aggressive. I tried to drive to the basket as much as I could."
St. Charles North shot well from the field, hitting 21 of 38 shots for 55 percent to the Shamrocks' 18 of 42 for 42 percent.
"They are a quality team, " said St. Patrick coach Mike Bailey of the North Stars. "They had some big size inside that we had to contend with. We did a nice job on switching our defenses on them. Our defense came up with some big steals at key times."