St. Charles North rebounds, holds off South Elgin
St. Charles North's Max Love performed like the 4-year varsity basketball player he is against nonconference foe South Elgin Saturday night.
Love, a 6-foot-4 senior forward, scored 13 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter during the North Stars' 60-47 victory in St. Charles.
Playing without the services of 6-8 senior forward Ethan Marlowe (back) for nearly 3 quarters, the North Stars (3-3) turned to Love when the game mattered most.
After South Elgin (1-5) whittled a 12-point deficit to 44-40 on a 3-pointer from Rocco Marzullo with 5 minutes remaining, Love responded with a basket off the drive and followed with a thunderous 1-handed slam dunk a couple minutes later to extend the North Stars' lead to 53-45.
From there, the North Stars outscored the Storm 7-2 to pull away down the stretch.
"Max did a really nice job," North Stars coach Tom Poulin said of Love, who added 12 rebounds and 3 assists. "He's trying to step into a leadership position -- not just vocally. He's a four-year varsity player. He's the one we kind of look to, especially with Ethan (Marlowe) sitting on the bench."
Despite committing 18 turnovers, the North Stars prevailed, thanks in part to Love's 17 second-half points and solid contributions from Ned Hayes (16 points), Jude Love (12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals) and Justin Hughes (7 points, 4 assists).
"We're struggling with pressure a little bit right now, so they (Storm defense) got up into us," said Love. "In the third quarter, we were up 12 and then they came back. In the fourth quarter, it was just calming down and finding the open guy."
The North Stars outscored the Storm 20-2 at the free-throw line.
"We made our free throws," Love said of his team's 20-for-25 effort. "Our spacing was good, which made the lane open."
St. Charles North enjoyed a 42-26 rebounding edge, as 6 different players hauled down at least 3 boards.
"That was the key to the game," said Poulin, whose team also rebounded from Friday's 50-23 loss to Wheaton Warrenville South.
"We have to just continue to get better," added the coach. "When they (the Storm) wanted to extend the defense out and put two on the ball, you have to play basketball and try and get to the rim and attack. It was good to see that because we've been a little passive when people have pressured us.
"That was a step forward."
"It was good because we were able to bounce back from last night," said Love. "Our focus is on getting tougher."
Drew Cwik paced the Storm with 13 points, including three 3-pointers, while Josh Genz and Marzullo added 9 points apiece.
"Drew is such a phenomenal player for us," said Storm assistant coach Ryan Storm, filling in for head coach Brett Johnson. "He's just trying to figure out what that role is.
"That was Rocco's best game by far this year, which was nice to see because he's a great competitor and his own toughest critic.
"We're going to get there."