Wheaton North gets much-needed win vs. Glenbard North
Finally returning to its home court after a seven-game road losing streak, Wheaton North wasn't worried about style points.
The Falcons just needed a win.
Thanks in large part to the free-throw line and the scoring duo of Ben Bonga and Garret Horner, Wheaton North accomplished just that with a 69-55 boys basketball win over Glenbard North.
"I definitely knew we had it in us," said Bonga, who led all scorers with 27 points. "We've had a lot of close games during this stretch where we could have won. This is a good win heading into the fourth quarter (of the season) and the playoffs.
"We know it's a long season. We come to practice every day with the same attitude, looking to try to get better. We don't let our last performance dictate how we practice. We are just trying to get more wins."
The Falcons (11-12, 3-7) had to overcome a 6-point halftime deficit in the DuKane Conference matchup. A lot of the heavy lifting was done at the free-throw line where the home team made 18 of 22 attempts in the second half.
Horner was a perfect 8 of 8 from the line and also made five 3-pointers on his way to 23 points. The senior's two free throws gave Wheaton North the lead for good at 43-41 late in the third quarter and started a 20-4 run.
"In the first half our effort level was not where it needed to be," said Wheaton North coach Dave Brackmann, whose team fell four times by six points or less during the losing streak. "Credit to Glenbard North, they came out with great energy. At halftime the message was defensively, we have to take pride in what we are doing.
"In the second half we were able to dictate the action better and offensively, we got more shots in the paint. And because we were more aggressive, we got to the free-throw line more."
The Panthers (6-20, 1-9) used a 22-11 spurt to bounce back from a 15-10 first-quarter deficit. But the visitors were held to just eight field goals, none from beyond the arc, while turning the ball over 10 times in the second half.
Rory Hills and Payton Bowser scored 11 points apiece to lead the way for Glenbard North. Jerry Abushanab and Jacob Bonnema each had 9.
"They did some things better in the second half then we did," Glenbard North coach Joe Larson said. "It's stuff we have to clean up. We did a lot of positive things in the first half. But to be a good basketball player and a good basketball team, you have to be consistent. Those are things we have to continue to work on down the stretch."