Victory caps special day for Naperville North
Naperville North's senior day was a success, and not just for the seniors.
Huskies junior Grant Johnson hit six of seven 3-point shot attempts in the first half and capped his day early in the third quarter on a two-handed dunk from Myles Barry's inbounds pass.
Johnson's 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting and 18 points from senior guard Riley Thompson, both in limited minutes, led Naperville North's 80-53 nonconference win over Montini. Eleven of the 12 Huskies who played scored.
"I think all of our ball movement was really good today," said Johnson, a 6-foot-5 forward.
"I mean, today's not about us, the juniors, it was about the seniors," he said. "I was basically just happy that we could get the win. That's what I was focused on, there was nothing really going through my head. I was just happy to get open looks. I made them, but it's really about the seniors tonight."
Senior guards Ali Yazici and Casey Fuller started along with Johnson and seniors Barry and Thompson. Receiving the opening tip from Johnson, smoothly sinking two free throws 16 seconds into the game and shortly thereafter stealing the ball to set up Johnson's first 3-pointer, Yazici's outing was a hit.
"It was very fun," said Yazici, whose 9 points drew cheers from classmates in the stands. "A long season with my brothers, and this was our last time being able to step on our home court. It was great."
Through three quarters Naperville North (13-15) shot 24 of 34, including 12 of 21 from 3-point land to build a 62-36 lead.
Coming off a Chicago Catholic League overtime win against Mt. Carmel, Montini (8-21) couldn't match that pace. However, the Broncos don't roll over for anyone.
In a wild and woolly fourth quarter Montini's Antoine Harris and Mike Koszewski kept pushing, trimming the deficit to 66-49 before Naperville North's Samanyu Parvathaneni made a pair of baskets to calm things down.
"We're always going to play hard and finish the game until the last buzzer. We're always going to be there to play hard," said Koszewski, a Cincinnati baseball recruit who joined Harris with 14 points. A.J. Ashford and Andrew Stokes scored 10 points apiece for the Broncos.
While Montini heads into the Class 2A playoffs, Naperville North ends its regular season Wednesday at Neuqua Valley before entering the Class 4A playoffs.
"This has just been an awesome group to work with. We've improved throughout the year," said Huskies coach Gene Nolan. "I know I speak for all of them saying I think one of the greatest victories of all is you just don't want this to end because of what a great group of kids they are."