2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 1/5/2018 10:34 PM

Naperville Central leaves WW South at a loss

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  • Naperville Central's Dillon Kane, center, keeps possession while being guarded by Wheaton Warrenville South's Parker Robinson, left, and Jake Healy, right, during the Redhawks' 55-43 win in Naperville.

      Naperville Central's Dillon Kane, center, keeps possession while being guarded by Wheaton Warrenville South's Parker Robinson, left, and Jake Healy, right, during the Redhawks' 55-43 win in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville Central's Benjamin Wolf, left, battles for a loose ball with Wheaton Warrenville South's Jake Healy, right, on Friday in Naperville.

      Naperville Central's Benjamin Wolf, left, battles for a loose ball with Wheaton Warrenville South's Jake Healy, right, on Friday in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville Central's Daniel Raab, left, drives to the basket against Wheaton Warrenville South on Friday in Naperville.

      Naperville Central's Daniel Raab, left, drives to the basket against Wheaton Warrenville South on Friday in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville Central's Cameron Dougherty looks to pass against Wheaton Warrenville South on Friday in Naperville.

      Naperville Central's Cameron Dougherty looks to pass against Wheaton Warrenville South on Friday in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville Central's Benjamin Wolf, right, drives the lane against Wheaton Warrenville South's Jake Healy (4) on Friday in Naperville.

      Naperville Central's Benjamin Wolf, right, drives the lane against Wheaton Warrenville South's Jake Healy (4) on Friday in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville Central's Tyler O'Brien, left, defends the lane against Wheaton Warrenville South's Chase Stebbins, right, on Friday in Naperville.

      Naperville Central's Tyler O'Brien, left, defends the lane against Wheaton Warrenville South's Chase Stebbins, right, on Friday in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 

At times it looked like both sides might need to pull teeth just to reach double-digit scoring.

Yet here was Naperville Central inching its lead over Wheaton Warrenville South to double digits. Emerging from a defensive struggle, the Redhawks soon found themselves controlling the defending DuPage Valley Conference champions.

Closing Friday's boys basketball game with a 24-point fourth-quarter explosion, Naperville Central pulled away to a 55-43 victory to hand the Tigers their first DVC loss since the 2015-16 season.

"It's just a really big win for us in the conference," said Redhawks senior forward Nick Baskin. "Playing a team like Wheaton South, we knew they were going to be good. We had to come out with a really good mentality."

Six-foot-eight Redhawks post Ben Wolf, committed to Northern Michigan, pulled down 7 rebounds but scored his only 3 points from the line in the fourth quarter.

Naperville Central compensated with tremendous balance. Baskin, Tyler O'Brien and Dillon Kane scored 12 points while Daniel Raab came up with 6 of his 10 points in the fourth quarter off the bench.

WW South's Matt Brodhead, who scored all 12 of his points on fourth-quarter 3-pointers to match team-high honors with Jake Healy, tied the game at 32 with five minutes left. Baskin responded with a 3-point play that put Naperville Central ahead to stay.

Four different players combined to go 10 of 11 from the line in the final 1:41, a free-throw run begun by Kane's 3-point play.

"There's going to be times where we're going to have to win like that," said Redhawks coach Pete Kramer, whose team is coming off a tournament championship run at DeKalb. "You can tell we've matured and we're starting to do a better job."

Zach Harris knocked down a 3-pointer midway through the second quarter to give WW South (10-3, 4-1) its biggest lead of 15-7. A switch from zone to man defense sparked the Redhawks (11-2, 4-1), who rallied to take an 18-17 halftime lead on O'Brien's steal and basket.

WW South reclaimed a 24-21 third-quarter lead but Naperville Central again answered with a 10-0 run.

While the Tigers dive right back into DVC play to face Waubonsie Valley on Saturday, Naperville Central has a week off to prepare for next Friday's cross-town game at Naperville North (12-1, 4-0), the last unbeaten team in the league.

"We weren't very good tonight," said Tigers coach Mike Healy. "We made a lot of mistakes, a lot of little mistakes. We're just not athletic enough or tall enough to win games making some of those mistakes on a consistent basis."

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