Wheaton North's boys basketball team is taking nothing for granted.
The way the season's winding down, the Falcons don't have a choice.
They never trailed in Friday's 72-41 DuPage Valley Conference victory over Glenbard North in Carol Stream, giving the Falcons their second league victory of the week.
Coming off a span of four straight losses -- including a 2-point cross-town defeat to Wheaton Warrenville South and a double-overtime heartbreaker to Metea Valley -- they're hoping the trend finally is moving in the right direction.
"We're focused on just getting better and building to the playoffs," said Falcons senior Josh Sorenson. "The conference race is over for us so we're taking every game and trying to play our best. We want to look at this game as another building block."
Glenbard North showed moxie early by taking three charges in the first quarter, but Wheaton North (12-12, 7-6) still boosted the margin to double digits once in the first quarter and for good in the second. The Panthers could have stayed closer but 2-of-8 second-quarter free-throw shooting stalled a rally chance.
The Falcons' size advantage with 6-foot-7 Sorenson and 6-7 Deng Reng did a lot of damage early against the smaller Panthers. Sorenson scored 12 of his game-high 16 points in the first half and grabbed 6 of his 8 rebounds.
"We're still trying to improve and make a run to end the year," said Wheaton North coach Dave Brackmann. "We have the potential to do that. We've just been preaching in the last week to really play our best team basketball, kick up our effort level, kick up our defense. To control the game start to finish, that's a step in the right direction."
The Falcons extended their lead throughout the third quarter, flashing their seamless depth and inside-out game. In addition to the post success of Sorenson and Reng, Drew Arbogast knocked down three 3-pointers, Matthew Brend hit two and Jacob Schauer and Nathan Heyen made one apiece.
Brend scored 15 points off the bench while Schauer and Arbogast each scored 9 points. Glenbard North's Lee Rady scored 9 of his 12 points in the second half. Darryl Creamer tallied all 10 of his in the first half.
"We were right there in the ballgame and we missed some shots and some free throws," said Glenbard North coach Joe Larson. "We need to score when we have opportunities to score. We didn't make enough shots tonight, especially in the first half."
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