After Friday night's 63-53 victory by the Naperville Central boys basketball team at Wheaton Warrenville South, talk was of a strong performance by the offense in two ways.
First, coach Pete Kramer was pleased with the overall performance of the Redhawks offense that led for all but the first minute or two of the game.
"We did a lot of good things on offense. Nick (Czarnowski) had 18 (points) and the rest of the team was pretty well balanced. We ran our stuff pretty well," he said.
The Redhawks (9-4, 3-1 DuPage Valley Conference) led 15-7 after the first quarter and 32-20 at halftime.
The Tigers (2-10, 0-5) had the better shooting percentage of 50 percent during the first 16 minutes, while the Redhawks were at 42 percent. But the key was Naperville Central had twice as many shots.
WW South pulled to within 20-18 with 5:30 left until halftime on the first of five 3-pointers by Matt Kienzle, who led his team with 15 points. The Redhawks, though, closed the quarter on a 12-2 run.
Patrick Maloney followed Czarnowski on the scoresheet with 10 points along with 10 rebounds. Ryan Antony had 8.
"I thought Ryan did a real nice job for Nick in the transition game with some real nice passes," Kramer said. "Maloney was outstanding on the boards. Our two sophomore players (Emmanuel Rugamba and Matthew Meier) really played well off the bench."
While the Redhawks had a good overall performance on offense, one particular play was crucial in putting the brakes on a surging WW South offense.
The Tigers started hitting the 3-pointer effectively in the second half with four each in the third and fourth quarters. Kienzle made four in the second half, and Austin Polezoes, who finished with 14 points, made three during the final 16 minutes.
"A couple of kids stepped up. We shared the basketball well," said WW South coach Bob Szorc. "It's any way we can put the ball in the bucket."
Naperville Central was leading 41-34 with just less than three minutes left in the third quarter. The Tigers went for a shot for a chance to reduce the Redhawks' lead to 5. That met the block of Alex Pomeroy, who got the ball to Antony who got it to Maloney for a dunk that livened the Naperville Central crowd at the game.
"It was definitely a momentum changer. It got the team hyped," Pomeroy said.
Another example of the Redhawks' offense working was team depth was working. Maloney and Czarnowski each dealt with three fouls during the second half, but the team stayed on track.
"We're a big team. It's one of our strengths. If one of our big men is out, there are others," Maloney said.