Sure, it's more fun to win than lose, but Naperville Central put on a basketball clinic this weekend and had more than its fair share of good times along the way.
The Redhawks followed up Friday's win over Wheaton North with a dominating effort on both ends of the floor in a 58-25 defeat of Lake Park on Saturday in the DuPage Valley Conference.
Naperville Central (15-5, 5-2) jumped out to a 12-1 lead on the Lancers, then built a 32-16 lead at the half with a balanced offense and a swarming defense. The Redhawks forced 10 turnovers in the half and then seven more in the third quarter while taking a 52-22 lead after three quarters.
"Tonight I thought we had really good spacing and we moved the ball really well," said forward Nicholas Baskin, who had 15 points and 4 steals. "It's really fun when everyone's involved and everyone's scoring. It's really fun to play."
Redhawks coach Pete Kramer also admitted to enjoying his team's play this weekend.
"We're really defending well," Kramer said. "We're talking and the execution on both ends was great. We're sharing the ball. Finding the open man. It's fun to watch."
The fun started for the home team right from the very beginning. Cameron Dougherty hit center Ben Wolf for a basket and foul on the first possession of the night, and Dillon Kane scored off a turnover for a quick 5-0 lead. The margin reached 12-1 just three minutes into the game following both a 3-pointer and a steal and bucket from Tyler O'Brien, who led all scorers with 16 points.
Like Baskin -- and all of the Redhawks, for that matter -- O'Brien excelled on both ends of the floor. The senior guard had 5 steals against the Lancers (5-12, 3-5) to go with his hot shooting, which included a trio of 3s.
"This whole week of practice we had a focus on a defense-turns-to-offense mentality," O'Brien said. "We really just worked on that throughout the entire week. That was our main goal against Wheaton North, and then we just carried that on to tonight."
The Lancers won at Neuqua Valley on Friday, but coach Josh Virostko felt the cards were stacked against his team. Lake Park had back-to-back road games the last two nights, and injuries to three players left them with a thin bench.
"They're good and it was going be tough any way," Virostko said of the Redhawks. "But it was set up for us to struggle and it just snowballed. They're talented and they shot well, but we're really only playing six guys. They had open looks and they were knocking them down early. Our margin of error was so small that if you don't make the most of those situations, it can get out of hand.
"I think if we're fresh and we can get more guys we can make a game of it. But we got in a tough situation tonight."
Daniel Spejcher and Diamante Smith each tallied 7 points to lead the Lancers, who were limited to 9 second-half points.
"I thought the second half we came out and didn't give them any thinking that they were going to get back in the game," Kramer said. "I'm awfully proud of our effort. We're right where we want to be."