St. Charles North bounces back against Bartlett
St. Charles North started fast and finished strong earning a 58-39 nonconference win over Bartlett Wednesday night.
Junior Connor Linke (17 points, 12 rebounds) scored 13 of his game-high 17 points in the second half, posting up and earning his buckets the hard way. Fellow junior Luke Scheffers (11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals) directed the offense, driving inside and feeding fellow teammates like Linke, or hitting a 3-pointer when the defense collapsed inside.
"Our focus tonight was to get out and run and play the way we know how to play," Scheffers said. "So I was just trying to be a leader and distribute the ball and make sure we were doing what we needed to do tonight. We were trying to play inside-out, whether that's off the drive or dishing it off to Connor (Linke) down low. He was finishing all of drives tonight, so kudos to him. Once he starts scoring a couple, they start doubling down on him, so then we can start kicking it out to our shooters."
In addition to scoring from both outside and inside, the posting down low also paid additional dividends by forcing Bartlett star scorer Austin Gates (12 points, 7 rebounds) into foul trouble.
"One of our keys was to get it inside and even if I wasn't scoring a lot, then push it back outside. Our guys were knocking down 3-pointers tonight," Linke said. "We thought that if we could push down inside we could get some of their guys in foul trouble, like Gates. He's a great player, so we were able to get him in foul trouble and that hurt their offense I think."
Leading 23-18 at the half, St. Charles North (3-3) earned the first 10 points of the second half on two 3-pointers by senior guard Tyler Czerniak (11 points) and two post up buckets by Linke. Senior Nick Mansk (9 points) provided a brief spark for Bartlett (2-7) to start the second half with two 3-pointers sandwiched around another layup by Linke, but the North Stars put the game away for good with an 18-point fourth quarter to seal the win.
Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith thought his team played well in the first half, but defensively had some breakdowns in the second half that put the game too far away to catch the North Stars on their home court.
"We stopped defending tonight," Wolfsmith said. "They (North Stars) got the shots they wanted. They had uncovered 3s from the outside and then the big man inside … we don't have that kind of size. We stopped defending in the second half, and you're not going to beat a team like that on their floor when you're chasing 10-12 points."
St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin thought the defense played a strong game by limiting Bartlett's half court attack and also credited the offense with executing and scoring on what Bartlett gave them.
"I thought our defense has been solid all year," Poulin said. "I was really happy with our defense and I thought we were doing the right things. We were able to shrink the court and make them kind of uncomfortable in the areas of the floor that they couldn't take advantage of us in. Offensively, we shared the basketball, we played inside out, and we executed pretty well. I thought we took what they gave us whether it was in transition or half court. When they played behind him (Linke), we found him and when they played in front of him we went to the next option and got some high-low looks. I thought the kids did a nice job of taking whatever Bartlett gave us."