Few boys basketball teams like to face full-court pressure, particularly the kind of 2-2-1 zone press long-armed Naperville North plays.
With 6-foot-7 junior Chris Johnson, 6-6 senior Mitch Lewis and 6-5 sophomore Tom Welch looming, Naperville North turned Elgin over 17 times in a 68-51 nonconference win at the Ernie Kivisto Hoopfest at East Aurora Saturday.
It was the third win of the week and the 11th straight overall for Naperville North (17-4), the second-place team in the DuPage Valley Conference. The Huskies won homes games against Wheaton North on Tuesday and Lake Park on Friday.
"We're playing real good ball," said Lewis, who led Naperville North with 17 points to go with 5 rebounds and 3 assists. "We're all jelling together. We had a rocky start at the beginning and we're picking things up game by game."
The Huskies haven't lost since Dec. 27, when they dropped a 72-67 decision to Downers Grove North.
"We just keep grinding and pushing and, obviously, it's paid off so we'll keep grinding it out," said Welch, who contributed 6 points and 6 rebounds.
Elgin (12-12) trimmed an 11-point halftime deficit to 33-28 with a 6-0 run at the third quarter's outset, thanks to a drive by senior guard Reggie Cole and 4 of senior Jack Wolf's 17 points.
Naperville North responded with a 15-3 run to pull away. Four Huskies scored during the spree but Lewis did the heavy lifting. He scored 9 of his 17 points in a three-minute span.
"We always know whoever we play they're going to come out with punches whether its first or second half," Johnson said. "You just have to take it and come back as best we can. We really did that well by moving the ball, getting it inside and just good ball movement all around."
Elgin went from trailing by 5 points early in the third quarter to trailing by 23 with four minutes left.
"It's the story of our season," said longtime Elgin assistant coach Jeff Howard, who filled in for head coach Mike Sitter due to illness. "Here we are, we play one of the better teams in the area well for two and a half quarters, but we just don't have enough to sustain."
Elgin shot 40.4 percent from the field (19 of 47) but the Maroons didn't get many second-shot opportunities. Naperville North used its height advantage to dominate the boards 42-23.
Johnson finished with 10 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks and seniors Youcef Merabet and Camaron Hardy added 9 points apiece for Naperville North, which plays at Glenbard North Tuesday.
Elgin senior guard Reggie Cole had 9 points and 5 rebounds in his third game back from mononucleosis. Naperville North's tall frontcourt limited 6-7 Elgin senior Courtese Cooper to 7 rebounds and 9 points on 3-of-13 shooting.