Naperville North's boys basketball team got everything it wanted out of a critical trip to Wheaton North...except from the free-throw line.
Despite a tough performance at the line that helped send the game to overtime, the Huskies pulled out Friday's 66-65 DuPage Valley Conference victory at Wheaton North.
Huskies senior Mitch Lewis scored 13 of his team-high 23 points after the third quarter to help Naperville North (5-1, 2-0) overcome 12-of-26 shooting at the line -- and also overcome a game-high 27 points from Falcons senior Luke Anthony, who tallied 15 of his points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
"We have so much talent, it really just comes down to mistakes," Lewis said. "If we limit those, we'll play our best ball and whatever happens, happens."
Lewis and Anthony accounted for 15 of the 17 combined overtime points. Anthony rallied the Falcons from 4 points down with a 3-pointer and two free throws that put the Falcons ahead 65-64, but Lewis scored to give Naperville North a 66-65 lead.
Wheaton North tried to respond with the game-winning shot, but the Huskies' Chris Sullivan came up with a steal with 1.4 seconds left. Even though Sullivan missed both ensuing free throws, Wheaton North had to settle for an off-the-mark desperation shot from midcourt to end the game.
"The atmosphere was amazing, the gym was packed," Sullivan said. "It's so tough to get a road DVC win. Really, our guys just stepped up from five players deep on the bench. It was just a great team win."
Naperville North used a 12-5 run in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to build a 50-38 lead. A pair of free throws by sophomore Tom Welch made it a 52-41 advantage with 3:16 left.
The Falcons (4-2, 0-2) answered with 7 straight points, and then outscored the Huskies 7-1 in the final 42 seconds to force overtime. First Anthony converted a three-point play, then Rowan McGowen scored to pull Wheaton North within a point.
Naperville North missed 5 of 6 free-throw attempts in the final 30 seconds, setting up Anthony's game-tying bucket just before the buzzer.
"We're certainly not going to hang our heads and go into panic mode," said Falcons coach Dave Brackmann. "We're going to continue to improve, I know that. And we're going to start pulling out some of these close games."
McGowen scored 14 points for Wheaton North while Welch and Winston Elston had 13 apiece for Naperville North.
"This is good, to come to their place and win," said Naperville North coach Jeff Powers. "I was proud of the way our kids responded."
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