Wheaton North's double-figure halftime lead over Metea Valley did not satisfy the Falcons boys basketball team.
"We came in at halftime, we're up by like 12 or so, and we really wanted to come out and start off the third quarter strong, get some momentum going to really make them not want to play, was really our goal," said Falcons senior forward Matt Brcka. "You get up by 20 and the mojo on the other team, you really don't want to play so much."
Metea Valley coach Matt Walpole actually was proud of his squad's late-game mojo, but Wheaton North's 12-0 third-quarter run did help the Falcons end a two-game skid with a 65-47 DuPage Valley Conference win on Friday.
"We were in kind of a little rough patch with a couple tough losses, and we were focused on staying positive, bouncing back and playing together. That was the first and foremost thing, and then certainly our defense for the vast majority of the game was very good and it helped our offense," said Falcons coach Dave Brackmann, who will face his alma mater, Glenbard West, on Saturday.
Wheaton North (15-6, 7-4) led 19-17 in the second quarter then outscored the Mustangs 16-6 going into halftime for a 35-23 lead. Brcka, Jack Bennett, Ethan Block and Luke Anthony, who led all scorers with 27 points, turned defense into transition buckets. Anthony emphasized it right before halftime, swishing one of his four 3-pointers.
"That's a really good team, and they're deep," Walpole said. "They ran some really good stuff and I thought we did well in the first quarter guarding it and second quarter it got away from us."
Metea Valley (8-16, 4-8) scored the first basket of the third quarter, an Ethan Helwig putback. Starting with Bennett's reverse lay-in from an Anthony inbounds pass, the Falcons scored the next 12 points and led 50-26 on a second-chance basket by 6-6 sophomore Deng Reng. Wheaton North, which got at least 6 points from each starter, led 54-30 after three quarters.
Metea forward Jeremy Hunter and super-quick point guard Jayden Reed caught fire in the fourth, but the Mustangs couldn't get closer than 58-43 with 3:51 to play. Reed led Metea with 13 points, Hunter adding 10 points and 10 rebounds.
"(We've got to) find guys back on defense, because they got a lot of shots on, like, cherry-picking, so we've just got to get back on 'D,'" Reed said. "We've just got to make that adjustment in practice next week and we'll be fine."