With Wheaton North and Hinsdale South both playing hard-fought boys basketball games the night before, Saturday's matinee matchup between the tired teams needed a wakeup call.
Falcons junior Jake Heggeland provided it early in the second quarter.
Heggeland's baseline spin move and dunk electrified the Darien gymnasium, and Wheaton North held on for a 49-41 nonconference victory over the Hornets.
Combined with Friday's DuPage Valley Conference win over Glenbard East, the Falcons (13-9) have won four of their last five games.
"We knew they were a good team, and we had to come back and play," Heggeland said of Saturday's game. "We had a slight lull in the third quarter, but we came back in the fourth and controlled the rest of the game."
Heggeland's dunk extended Wheaton North's lead to 15-5 and forced a timeout, but a strong third quarter rallied Hinsdale South (14-10) from a 12-point halftime deficit. The Falcons fought off the comeback, scoring 10 of the game's final 11 points to seal the victory.
Marcel Phillips scored to put Hinsdale South ahead 40-39 with 2:24 left, but Matt Biegalski answered and Heggeland followed with a steal and a pair of free throws to give the Falcons a 43-40 advantage -- the sixth lead change of the fourth quarter.
Wheaton North sealed the win with six straight free throws in the final half minute.
"Not to make excuses for us or anything, I told the guys we've got to get tough," said Hornets coach Brett Moore, whose team dropped a 92-86 triple-overtime West Suburban Gold heartbreaker to Proviso East on Friday. "You're going to play days like this. And we've looked good at times this year coming back, bouncing back after a quick turnaround."
Andrew Slivinski, 7 of 8 from the line, scored a game-high 18 points for Wheaton North. Heggeland scored 12 points and Biegalski had 10.
Six-foot-nine sophomore Barret Benson scored 12 points to lead the Hornets, who made only 8 of 18 attempts from the line.
"There were times earlier in the season where when things didn't go so well, we let it get to us," said Wheaton North coach Dave Brackmann. "I thought we stayed pretty calm throughout."
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