Late free thows send DeKalb to DVC win against Naperville North
DeKalb finally had the right person at the free-throw line.
Trenton Kyler compensated for the foul line sins of some of his teammates by converting 2 free throws with 1.5 seconds left to secure the Barbs' 54-50 victory over Naperville North Friday night.
DeKalb captured its season-opening fifth consecutive win in claiming the schools' DuPage Valley Conference game in Naperville.
The Huskies, who had four chances in the final minute-plus to tie or take the lead, fell to 1-3 overall, 0-2 in the league.
"People are going to miss free throws," said Kyler, who finished with a game-high 23 points. "We knew we were going to get a (defensive) stop."
The Barbs had split trips at the free-throw line three times in the last minute-plus that could have made the waning seconds much easier to stomach.
"With the (missed) free throws, it was nerve-wracking," said DeKalb junior Lane McVicar, who augmented Kyler with 19 points of his own.
McVicar gave DeKalb a 46-34 lead entering the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer from beyond the top of the key. But the transfer from South Elgin would be the only DeKalb player to score from the field, once, in the fourth quarter.
Naperville North slowly but surely whittled its nearly game-long deficit in the back-and-forth final quarter. Every time it appeared the Barbs would have few issues closing out the game, the Huskies seemingly had an answer.
"We were able to get a lot of deflections," said Naperville North guard Zeke Williams, who finished with 13 points, on the Huskies' defensive efforts that galvanized the team in the fourth quarter.
Jacob Scharm led Naperville North with 14 points. The Huskies' collective spirits only rose when DeKalb failed to create greater separation at the free-throw line in the clutch.
"When they couldn't put it away we were hyped about that," Williams said
But the Huskies could never forge the tiebreaker or take the lead. Three conventional field-goal attempts and a fourth from beyond the arc all failed to hit the hoped-for destination.
"We had so many opportunities to score," Williams said.
The Huskies' Grant Johnson scored all 8 of his points after halftime, only to foul out late.
DeKalb never trailed again after Kyler hit two 3-pointers during a personal 8-0 second-quarter burst. The Barbs led 32-23 at halftime after closing the second quarter on a 19-7 run.
"DeKalb is a very good defensive team," Naperville North coach Gene Nolan said. "They made stops (after the missed free throws). (Kyler and McVicar are) really talented players. They can score at all three levels."