St. Charles North grinds out victory over Batavia
Batavia forward Jayden Johnson has seen St. Charles North point guard Luke Scheffers play as both a teammate and opponent on the floor.
Longtime AAU teammates for Fundamental U, they're no strangers on the court.
Scheffers, though, further demonstrated Monday night how he has evolved into such a defensive focus for opponents. The 6-foot-1 North Stars' guard scored 14 points and had four rebounds in his team's 46-36 win over visiting Batavia.
"I think what makes him so hard to guard (is) he's got a real strong midrange jumper," Johnson said. "He's good playing off the ball screen."
North (13-3, 5-0) overcame a 23-20 halftime deficit to remain perfect in conference play. The North Stars also held their opponent to fewer than 50 points for the third consecutive game and 10th time on the season.
Meanwhile, having a guy like Scheffers around has the North offense flowing.
"He's a true floor general," Johnson said.
Johnson had 17 points and eight rebounds for Batavia, but only four of those points came after halftime.
Johnson's offensive prowess wasn't lost on Scheffers or his team, either.
"We definitely were focused on him," Scheffers said. "I've played with him (on AAU) for a long time, so I kind of told my guys, 'He's a good player, he can make shots.'"
Batavia (7-8, 2-4) hit a cold spell to open the third quarter, allowing the North Stars to go ahead. The North Stars went on a 9-0 run, capped by Ethan Marlowe's 3-pointer, before Batavia guard Kyle Neibch hit a 3 with 3:25 left in the quarter to stop the scoreless drought.
Two Scheffers layups gave the North Stars a 33-28 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Batavia guard Trent Tousana hit a jumper to start the fourth, but Scheffers again scored on a pair of layups and Max Love hit a 3-pointer to extend North's lead to 10 with 5:28 remaining.
"Our motto is 'There's never an off night on defense,'" North Stars coach Tom Poulin said. "Tonight, our execution was poor, we were a little sloppy. But, (Batavia) defended well. But, our defense locks in and keeps people from consistently getting good looks."
Connor Linke had a quiet night offensively for the North Stars with just 2 points, but more than made up for it defensively with 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. Christian Czerniak had 7 points and 3 rebounds, while Colin Nelson had 8 points.
Neibch complemented Johnson's effort for Batavia with 6 points and 2 rebounds. Devin Cheaney struggled a bit with foul trouble, but managed 2 points and 4 rebounds.
"St. Charles North is very good; lot of credit to them," Batavia coach Jim Nazos said. "I thought there were times where we played well. We had some lapses, some things; we gave (the North Stars) a few extra possessions, and (we) can't do that ... they hit some shots in key moments."
"We're there; I think we will get there," Nazos continued. "I think we're going to continue to get better, and we'll get to play them again at home."