Triumph eludes Naperville Central
DeKALB -- Trenton Kyler had just missed a contested layup after poking the basketball out from behind a Naperville Central player when Joseph Owens proved to be in the right place at the right time.
Owens gathered the ball pinballing around the paint after the shot and dropped it in to cross the 20-point threshold for the second time in the last week, putting DeKalb up by 7 points.
The Barbs took a 52-48 victory over Naperville Central (10-2) in the Chuck Dayton Holiday Tournament title game Monday night.
The Barbs overcame an 11-point halftime deficit to claim the win, as Owens made big play after big play in a 20-point, 12-rebound effort.
"I had to be that guy for my team," Owens said. "I (saw) we came out sluggish and I knew the big guy (Chris Conway of Naperville Central) was a problem, so I had to take him out late."
Owens was named tournament MVP and he joined teammate Avery Media on the all-tournament team. Medina scored 7 points, dished out 4 assists and took several momentum-building charges.
"I've coached big guys, I've coached small teams," DeKalb coach Mike Reynolds said. "And I've always figured out when you have the small team, the big guys have to guard you too. (Owens) did a nice job of attacking the rim instead of attacking the side of the backboard."
Owens and the Barbs held the 6-foot-10 Division I commit Conway to 2 second-half points after he scored 11 in the first two quarters.
Naperville Central's Aidan Kramer finished through contact following a Redhawks steal with just over two minutes remaining in the game. He missed the free throw, though, as DeKalb found itself clinging to a 46-43 lead. DeKalb sank two free throws, only for Kramer to make another bucket to cut Naperville Central's deficit back to 3.
"I think it was two different halves," Naperville Central coach Pete Kramer said. "The first half we controlled what we wanted to do and play the way we wanted to play. The second half plays the way they wanted to play."
Brown's tough layup to open the fourth quarter gave DeKalb a 40-37 lead, its largest of the game. He followed it moments later with another lay-in, this time through contact.
"We're just a bunch of little guys that fight like crazy and it was fun to watch," Reynolds said.
DeKalb picked up a stop, and Owens made yet another shot from the right block.
On consecutive possessions early in the third quarter, Zach Russell knocked down a 3-pointer and Joseph Owens muscled in a bucket at the rim. After the Owens make Media took a charge and on the following end, assisted to an open Daniel Brown for an uncontested layup as DeKalb trailed just 37-30.
"Our team chemistry is really good and everybody trusts everybody to make the right read, make a shot and everybody is just confident in each other," Medina said.
In the third quarter the Barbs picked up several defensive stops and Owens used his length to get to the rim on consecutive possessions. He keyed his own layup when he grabbed a rebound on a Conway miss and drove the length of the floor for the bucket.
DeKalb found itself trailing 37-34 as Chuck Dayton Gymnasium reached a fever pitch. Owens sank two free throws and DeKalb found itself down just a point.
Trenton Kyler kept the crowd going when he drove and rose up for a free-throw line jumper and sank it, giving DeKalb a 38-37 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Barbs stretched their lead to 44-37 before Conway ended a 16-0 Barbs scoring run.
The Barbs couldn't quite slow the Redhawks early, as Naperville Central extended its lead to 33-21 at half. Naperville Central went from shooting 13 of 18 at the half to shooting 7 of 20 in the second half. Cameron Dougherty scored 11 points for the Redhawks.