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Article updated: 3/5/2014 12:04 AM
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Waubonsie Valley slips past Naperville North
 

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Waubonsie Valley slips past Naperville North
  • Waubonsie Valley’s Matt Gialamas, left, drives past Jelani McClain Jr., right of Naperville North during Class 4A regional boys basketball in Lemont on Tuesday.

    Purchase Photo | Waubonsie Valley’s Matt Gialamas, left, drives past Jelani McClain Jr., right of Naperville North during Class 4A regional boys basketball in Lemont on Tuesday. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 

You'd expect nothing else from an eighth seed facing a ninth seed.

That being said, you sure couldn't see it coming from Waubonsie Valley and Naperville North on Tuesday.

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The Warriors held off a late and furious Naperville North rally to top the Huskies 46-44 in Tuesday's Class 4A Lemont boys basketball regional semifinals.

The victory sends No. 8 Waubonsie Valley (19-9) into Friday's title game to face top-seeded Benet (20-7), an 81-36 winner over Lemont in Tuesday's first semifinal game.

"Game by game," said Warriors senior Jay DeHaan, who led his team with 17 points. "We're going to scout them, practice hard the next two days, and hopefully we'll get a win Friday."

DeHaan's third-quarter 3-pointer beat the buzzer and put the Warriors ahead 35-22 heading to the fourth quarter. Over the final eight minutes, however, Naperville North (17-10) proceeded to match its scoring output from the first three quarters combined.

After DeHaan split a pair of free throws with 22 seconds left to put the Warriors ahead 46-44, Naperville North's Jayson Winick and Anthony Rehayem each missed go-ahead 3-point attempts.

The Huskies' Zach Tuxhorn grabbed two offensive rebounds, setting up the final possession with two seconds left. Jelani McClain Jr. got off a game-winning 3-point attempt from the top of the key, but the shot went off the mark to preserve Waubonsie Valley's victory.

"I'm proud of our boys that they never gave up, that was pretty neat," said Naperville North coach Jeff Powers. "We got a bunch of different looks, and none of them went down."

Leading 17-15 at the half, Waubonsie Valley unleashed a barrage of 3-pointers to build its double-digit advantage. Chris Karkazis, who scored 14 points, made three and DeHaan added a fourth.

Naperville North's defense picked up the pressure in the fourth quarter, forcing 7 turnovers. Rehayem's 3-pointer and a pair of Tuxhorn free throws narrowed the gap to 45-43 with two minutes left.

Baylor Griffin split a pair of free throws with 55 seconds left to make it 45-44.

Rehayem scored 15 points for the Huskies while Winick added 10.

"Our guys just have to play with poise," said Warriors coach Chaz Taft. "Benet's a great team. It's a great opportunity. They're the No. 1 team in our sectional, so just looking forward to Friday."

In the early game on Tuesday, Benet never trailed Lemont after jumping to an 8-0 lead. Colin Bonnett, who lives in Lemont, scored 11 of his game-high 18 points in the first quarter.

Sean O'Mara scored 10 points for Benet, which led 41-16 at half. The Redwings' starters left the game for good about three minutes into the third quarter.

"Right now we're trying to play our best basketball toward the end of the season and put together two halves like today," Bonnett said. "Happy with the win today, just have to keep trying to do that."

Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_schmit

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