St. Charles North's basketball team found a different way to win Friday night in Batavia.
Both teams waited out a 48-minute delay in the first quarter after the sounding of a fire alarm resulted in an evacuation of the gymnasium.
Down the stretch, the North Stars (13-7, 7-3) had just enough firepower to push past the Bulldogs, 48-42, in Upstate Eight Conference River Division action.
"Never," North Stars coach Tom Poulin answered when asked if he had ever had a fire alarm go off during a basketball game before. "(Assistant coach) Rob Prentiss always tells me when you've coached long enough you'll see everything but it's the first I've seen (of it) and he has been coaching for 30 years and he hasn't seen it before."
A 3-pointer from sophomore guard Canaan Coffey (team-high 14 points) put the Bulldogs (6-14, 1-9) ahead 3-2 with 5:51 remaining in the opening quarter.
The score remained the same more than 3 minutes later when the fire alarm went off, suspending play with 2:37 left in the period.
"We'll remember it," said Poulin. "I think that might be the most memorable part of the game."
"I'm not sure exactly what happened," said Batavia coach Jim Nazos, who took the microphone to inform everyone that they had to leave the gym until further notice. "I noticed that our hallway smelled when we got back so there was something that actually happened."
As for the game itself, the North Stars fell behind 18-10 midway through the second quarter before closing out the first half with a 9-0 run to grab a 19-18 halftime advantage.
After Tucker Knox's 3-point play extended the Bulldogs' lead to 8, the North Stars answered with back-to-back buckets from Erik Miller and Garrett Johnson prior to a 3-pointer by junior Jack Callaghan (9 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists).
Junior guard Jake Ludwig capped a bizarre first half by draining a pair of free throws with no time remaining on the clock -- and the Bulldogs' entire team already off the court heading toward the locker room.
"I think it kind of helped me get going a little bit," said Ludwig.
Ludwig, who scored 14 of his game-high 16 points in the second half, converted a pair of crucial 3-point plays in the third quarter to keep the North Stars close.
The second of his 3-point plays came just a few ticks after Canaan Coffey's rare 4-point play had put Batavia up 32-29 -- the seventh lead of the change of the period.
"We had some stretches of good basketball," said Poulin.
Callaghan's reverse layup on their opening possession of the fourth quarter gave the North Stars the lead for good.
A clutch 3-pointer from senior guard Alec Goetz (12 points) and 4 consecutive free throws from Ludwig in the final minute helped preserve the win for the North Stars.
"No matter how we do it, we've just got to get the win," said Ludwig. "Every game matters."
"I thought we did just enough to win," said Poulin. "We're trying to get ourselves in that tournament mindset and win no matter how we have to do it. I don't care if it's 48-42 or 98-42 -- it's about getting a 'W.'"
Ryan Olson came off the bench to add 9 points and 6 rebounds for the Bulldogs, who were playing their first game in 2 weeks due to the cancellation of last Saturday's game at Rock Island.
"I thought he was in the right spots there in the post," Nazos said of Olson.
"We'll never accept the end result but we're a team that is getting better," said the coach. "We've been practicing well. We gave ourselves a chance (to win) in the fourth quarter. I really believe that good things are ahead for this team."
First up is tonight's clash against perennial power St. Joseph as part of the 21st annual Jim and Sylvia Roberts Night of Hoops.
"It's going to be a great atmosphere against a great team," said Nazos. "I think there are 16 guys in there (meeting room) who can't wait for the opportunity."