Glenbard West bounces back against Naperville Central

By Stan Goff
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/3/2016 10:02 PM

In a way both Glenbard West and Naperville Central rebounded nicely from Friday's boys basketball action, but only one could walk away with a win.

The Hilltoppers put a tight conference loss to York behind them by winning Saturday's nonconference game at Naperville Central 59-50. The Redhawks, meanwhile, played much better than they had the previous night in a one-sided loss to Glenbard North.

With forward Kevin Nelson knocking down all five of his 3-point shots on the way to a season-high 20 points, the visiting Hilltoppers improved to 4-2 on the year while dropping Naperville Central to 2-4.

"Last night was a really tough loss for us, but we came back strong today," said Nelson, who tallied 15 points in the first half as Glenbard West took a 32-29 lead at break. "We played really well and we weren't tired from yesterday. That was a really fun game tonight."

The Redhawks and center Ben Wolf had plenty of fun early on, but foul trouble limited the big guy's fun after a great start. The 6-foot-8 junior went 5-for-5 from the floor early but did not attempt a shot after his basket to start the second quarter pulled Naperville Central to within 21-19. Shortly afterward Wolf picked up his second foul and earned a trip to the bench. Two more quick fouls in the third quarter limited Wolf's minutes and opportunities the rest of the night.

"Most of our success comes from Ben, so we need Ben in the game," said Naperville Central guard Noah Swope, who led his team with 11 points. "He had 10 in the first and he didn't get any in the second half."

With Swope stepping up and teammates Nick Kramer, Daniel Raab, Nicholas Baskin and Thomas Dahl all hitting from beyond the arc, the hosts kept battling. But the Hilltoppers also hit their share of 3s and then went 21 for 25 from the free-throw line to seal the victory.

"We found a groove every once in a while, but they got on their runs," Swope said. "They got the best of us."

Hilltoppers coach Tim Hoder credited guard Connor Mullins' strong drives at Wolf in the third quarter with helping his team get the bounce-back win. It was a pair of strong drives by Mullins that led to Wolf's third and fourth fouls midway through the quarter.

"That was a big factor for us. (Wolf) came out well and got off to a hot start. He's a heck of a player," the Glenbard West coach said. "When guys are in foul trouble you've got to go at them. You can't worry about getting your shot blocked. You've got to take it at him and I thought Connor did a good job of that for us."

Evan Taylor had 15 points and Mullins 9 for the Hilltoppers, while Swope, Wolf and Raab all scored in double figures as each team had three players notch at least 10 points.

"I was really curious and anxious to see how we would show up after last night. I just didn't think we played very well last night," Redhawks coach Pete Kramer said. "The kids responded. I thought we battled really hard. I thought we executed a lot better tonight and I thought we had a lot more complete players on the floor."

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