The boisterous cheers coming out of the Lake Park locker room Friday night weren't of the holiday cheer variety.
They were more like what one might hear when basketball players put together a complete team effort to win a DuPage Valley Conference road game against a quality opponent.
Lake Park did just that in toppling host Wheaton North 65-53 behind the 3-point shooting of Tim Weiss in the first half and a terrific effort from the bench in the second half.
Weiss delivered a game-high 17 points, all in the first half, when he bagged five 3-pointers to go along with two free throws. Weiss' shooting put Wheaton North (5-2, 2-1) on its heels and put pressure on the Falcons to counter when playing without leading scorer Andrew Silvinski, still sidelined with an ankle injury.
As if that weren't enough, the Falcons lost second-leading scorer Matt Biegalski to a twisted ankle late in the first half. Biegalski had 7 points at halftime but did not return.
"We feel really good about what we did tonight, but we have a lot of respect for Wheaton North," Lake Park coach Josh Virostko said. "I don't want to cheapen what we did, but they were down their top two scorers.
"We seized the moment, but injuries were definitely a factor them," Virostko added.
Lake Park (7-3, 1-2) played an aggressive, switching man-to-man defense that gave the Falcons problems all night. Other than 6-foot-6, 210-pound center Jake Heggeland banging inside and getting to the free-throw line often, Wheaton North never found a consistent offensive rhythm. Heggeland finished with a team-high 14 points and game-high 8 rebounds, while going 8 of 11 at the line.
When Weiss knocked down his second 3-pointer in the first quarter, it lifted the Lancers to a 12-9 lead and they never trailed again.
"Our guards were able to penetrate, and our bigs posted up, and then we kicked out and got open shots," Weiss said. "Other than with (Heggeland), we were able to match up pretty well with them defensively and switch well off the screens."
Point guard Marcus McDaniel made his presence felt with 8 second-half points and 9 assists in the game, cutting through the Wheaton North defense to consistently find open teammates.
The Lancers held a 34-28 halftime lead but got a huge lift off the bench from Cameron Van Aswegan. The junior forward canned three 3s in the second half, two coming in the third quarter after the Falcons had moved within 36-32.
"He came in off the bench in the second half and he saved the game," Virostko said of Van Aswegan's effort.
Van Aswegan admitted it was exciting to come off the bench and immediately hit long-range shots, but pointed to the team defense as a key.
"It was all about talking and communicating with teammates and letting them know where you were at," Van Aswegan said.
The Lancers put their team depth on display, as four players who did not score in the first half -- Van Aswegan, McDaniel, Melvin Kimbrough and Connor Vance -- carried the load with 21 of the team's 31 second-half points.
"We have had seven guys who can score in double figures for us, and I told the guys they were all part of this tonight," Virostko said. "I was really happy for them because of that."
When Heggeland drove inside for a score late in the third quarter, Wheaton North trimmed the lead to 46-38. But the Falcons' hopes were dashed quickly when Lake Park milked a minute off the clock to open the fourth quarter before John Hower scored all alone under the basket. Van Aswagen knocked down a 3 before the final five minutes of the game became a free-throw contest that Lake Park ultimately won.
Wheaton North coach Dave Brackmann knew Lake Park had worn down his depleted squad.
"We were getting beat off the dribble early and keeping Weiss open, and he knocked down the shots," Brackmann said. "When we concentrated on him, they went inside.
"Lake Park dictated the action all night long," Brackmann said. "Our guys kept fighting, but we just couldn't put the ball in the basket."
Wheaton North made 18 of 48 shots, while Lake Park converted 21 of 36.
Neither team had a significant edge in turnovers, as Lake Park committed 16, and Wheaton North had 19. The Falcons had a 26-21 rebounding edge.