St. Charles North's 3rd straight rivalry win nets regional title
There was a standard pose Friday when any two members of the St. Charles North boys basketball program smiled for a photo with the newly secured regional plaque.
Back to back, of course.
No. 2 St. Charles North overcame a 4-point deficit through three quarters to defeat No. 3 St. Charles East 53-45 at Chesbrough Field House in Elgin.
The Class 4A regional title is St. Charles North's second straight and the fourth in the program's 19-year history.
"I'm just happy for the kids because they have put the work in and they deserve it," 14th-year St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said. "I've had some really good players the last few years. They're committed to doing things the right way and playing team basketball on both ends. They are very coachable, they care about each other and things are sincere. This is a team that deserves to be calling themselves champions."
The North Stars advance to a McHenry sectional semifinal on Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Hononegah (15-19), which defeated Rockford East 54-51.
Friday's win matches the North Stars' tournament run of last season, when they were eliminated in a sectional semifinal by eventual state qualifier Rockford East.
"Feels great, but we're not done yet," said fourth-year varsity point guard guard Luke Scheffers, who finished with 12 points and 4 assists.
St. Charles North (23-9) seemed poised for a blowout after dominating the first quarter 21-8. Seven North players scored and five different shooters -- seniors Colin Nelson, Christian Czerniak and Thomas Kellen and sophomores Ethan Marlowe and Max Love -- sank a 3-pointer as the North Stars made 5 of 7 attempts from distance.
However, North's shooting went cold. They missed eight 3-point attempts over the middle two quarters. St. Charles East (24-8) righted itself by outscoring the North Stars 28-11 over that span.
Senior Chase Monkemeyer scored 6 points as the Saints won the second quarter 16-4.
Five different Saints scored in the third quarter as they outscored North 12-7 to take a 36-32 lead.
"I thought we were in a really good spot," St. Charles East coach Pat Woods said. "Then we just didn't shoot the ball well."
The Saints made 7 of 32 attempts from 3-point range but only 2 of 10 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter. That was exemplified by a four-shot possession in which they clanged three 3-point attempts.
"I thought if one of those fall, the outcome is different," Woods said. "But it didn't fall."
Sophomore Max Love, who returned to action Tuesday after missing 11 games with a torn elbow ligament, scored 11 of his game-high 14 points in the fourth quarter. He sank a 3-pointer and made all 8 free throws he attempted in the final period.
"I had to do as much as I could to contribute because we needed to win this game," Love said. "Otherwise, we're done playing."
The loss ended a surprising season for the Saints, who tied the North Stars for the DuKane Conference title but lost all three meetings against their rival.
"No one thought this group was going to win 24 games," Woods said. "I don't think anybody was talking about us conference wise but they grabbed a conference championship. They're such a tightknit group. Great kids. I just can't say enough good things about them and the kids that they are on and off the court. They've accomplished a lot."
Monkemeyer and Scott Breidigan led the Saints with 9 points apiece.
Marlowe scored 7 points and senior Connor Linke finished with 6 points and 9 rebounds for North.