St. Charles North squeaks past Streamwood
Zach Ludwig was incredulous.
"I don't know how we won that game," Ludwig said.
In the final Upstate Eight River boys basketball game between Streamwood and St. Charles North Wednesday night, it appeared almost certain the Sabres would snap their season-long losing streak in the league.
But the Sabres' 6-point lead with less than half a minute to play was history moments later.
"It's a funny game," St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said of the sport after the North Stars' most improbable 73-71 victory.
There was no shortage of heroes for the North Stars in St. Charles.
Kyle King had a game-changing steal along the North Stars' baseline.
Tyler Nubin had the rebound of the game for the Stars off a King misfire at the free-throw line with less than 20 seconds to play.
In the first of two memories to cherish, Ludwig, who finished with a team-high 21 points for the North Stars, hit a baseline jumper off the Nubin extension to tie the game at 71-71 with 17 seconds remaining.
Keenon Cole had been phenomenal the entire game for the Sabres with a game-high 32 points, but the junior took an ill-advised jump shot in an attempt to retake the lead for Streamwood.
Ludwig saw his chance.
"We had numbers (on the subsequent fast break)," St. Charles North guard Brendan Dal Degan said. "They had like only two guys back."
Ludwig dribbled to the North Stars' free-throw line and fed Dal Degan, his backcourt mate, for a layup with a second to go.
"We hit some timely shots," said Dal Degan, who halved the Sabres' 71-65 lead with a 3-pointer with 27 seconds to play.
The North Stars ended their regular season with a 17-10 overall mark and second-place 9-3 division record.
Streamwood enters Class 4A postseason play next week with a 11-18 record after finishing 0-12 in the River.
It was a crushing loss for the Sabres, who led 68-61 late after consecutive field goals by Brandon Marton, Nikola Sinik and Zack Marquez.
But Streamwood was undermined by a series of mental mistakes in the waning moments.
"Some bad choices at the end cost us the game," said Cole.
The Sabres had completely reversed the early tide of the game -- St. Charles North scored 17 of the first 22 points of the first quarter -- with back-to-back 20-point periods in the middle two quarters.
"We ran our offense, made good decisions and hit big shots," Cole said.
Sinik complemented Cole brilliantly with five 3-pointers and 21 total points.
"We don't have an answer for (Cole)," Poulin said. "(He is) as good as anybody in the conference."
Dal Degan and King finished with 15 and 13 points, respectively, for St. Charles North.