Scheffers steps up for St. Charles North
St. Charles North forward Connor Linke picked up his fourth foul and headed straight to the bench with 4:12 left in the third quarter Friday.
The Bradley recruit had been contained by the pressure-packed Wheaton North defense for much of the second half. He scored all 12 of his points in the first two quarters and the Falcons evidently saw their opportunity.
North Stars senior point guard Luke Scheffers, though, had other ideas.
Scheffers scored eight of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to ultimately turn away the host Falcons 50-45 in Friday's DuKane Conference opener.
"I was just looking for my teammates, being aggressive, get downhill," said Scheffers, who himself has a Division I offer from Northern Illinois. "Read whatever the defense gives us, I'm going to take.
"Some games, I may have a couple baskets (with) a lot of assists," continued Scheffers, who also had four assists and five rebounds. "I may have to step up and score some games. I'm really just reading the defense. It's all about the team."
After Linke headed to the bench, Wheaton North pulled within 30-28 on a layup from Ben Bonga and a pair of free throws from Xander Mueller. North Stars sophomore Max Love responded with a 3-pointer on Christian Czerniak's third assist of the evening to stop the bleeding from a forgettable 3-of-17 third quarter from the field.
"I knew that my teammates had my back," Linke said. "They were just slowly charging along. We were getting it done, is what I thought."
Wheaton North (4-1, 0-1) eventually took the lead on a 3-pointer from Zack Lorentsen at 36-35. The teams traded leads five times before Linke returned with 3:34 left.
Scheffers hit a pair of jumpers off Linke screens to go up 45-40, but the Falcons again responded with a three from Bonga.
"I didn't want to lose (upon re-entering the game)," said Linke, who had three blocks in the fourth quarter. "I wanted to get the win. My teammates had been kind of propping us up. I (wanted) to come in and just finish the deal."
Colin Nelson and Czerniak both split two free throws before a Falcons turnover led to another opportunity for Czerniak at the charity stripe. Czerniak hit one to make it 48-43.
A pair of free throws from Emanuel Wilson inched Wheaton North within three, but Nelson closed it out with two of his own for the 50-45 North Stars (5-1, 1-0) win.
"Our defense is something that we always hang our hat on," Wheaton North coach Dave Brackmann said. "We feel like if we can hold teams in the 40s, we've got a pretty darn good chance to win."
For the North Stars, Nelson had 6 points, while Czerniak had 6 points and 4 assists.
Wheaton North was paced by Bonga's 12 points. Wilson had 10 points, 4 rebounds and a steal, while Mueller had 8 points and 4 rebounds. Garrett Horner had 7 rebounds, but struggled offensively by missing his first 12 attempts before finishing with 3 points.
"Shots (collectively) didn't fall necessarily tonight," Brackmann said. "And we had a number of self-inflicted wounds in the second half of mistakes that hurt."