Naperville Central tops Glenbard East
Playing late in the afternoon after tough conference losses on Friday night presented a daunting task for Naperville Central and Glenbard East as the two teams met on Saturday for a nonconference tilt.
In a back-and-forth affair that featured 5 ties and 12 lead changes, the Redhawks escaped Lombard with a 59-54 victory.
"This was a real good weekend for us," Redhawks coach Pete Kramer said. "I felt we really grew as a team and are starting to see the weapons we have and the kids are getting used to playing together. But we have to battle on the boards because we're not very big."
Glenbard East (1-5) went deep as a dozen players saw action with coach Al Biancalana electing to not start his typical starters. It was apparent in the scoring column as the bench of the Rams outscored Naperville Central's 42-0.
"We play on Monday and Tuesday so it'll be 4 games in 5 days so I'm concerned about the kids' legs and a little burnout," Biancalana said. "I started four juniors so it gave us a chance to play some of those kids and they battled and got some good game-type experience."
In a season unlike any other, Biancalana is trying to balance the honoring of his seniors and the development of his younger players.
"We're trying to be respectful of the seniors but also have to develop the juniors," he said. "So I have to find some creative ways to get some kids on the floor so that becomes a little more difficult."
Naperville Central (2-4) recognized that Jonah Hinton had the hot hand early and it continued late into the game.
Hinton buried a corner 3-pointer in the final minute of the third quarter and connected on a pullup jumper to open the fourth quarter to extend Naperville Central's lead to 48-41.
"My teammates had faith in me, coach ran a few plays for me and I was able to get open," Hinton said. "I think this is a huge win for us. We all wanted it and knew we had to get it done so we just fought through (the fatigue of Friday's 66-62 loss at DeKalb). Our teammates cheered us on and gave us more energy and we kept talking on the court making sure everyone was engaged."
The Rams led 29-26 after LaDonus Rogers' 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer. Rogers scored 19 points and snagged 8 rebounds less than 24 hours after scoring a career-high 27 against Streamwood.
"He was a monster and made some tough shots down the stretch," Kramer said. "We've got to fight the size on the other end and I thought Andrius (Avina) came off the bench and did a nice job battling."
Aidan Kramer made 8-of-10 free throws and finished with 18 points and 7 rebounds and Kyle Baskin hit a couple big 3-pointers and totaled 11 points for the Redhawks.
"Having five guards on the floor and all being able to create for each other and ourselves really helps," Aidan Kramer said. "We try to find the hot hand and Jonah was able to hit. (Kyle) Baskin hit a couple (3s) and (James) Jopes hit one."
Joe Hamilton and junior Tyrese Buffkin each had 9 points for the Rams and Terence Spencer added 8 points and 11 rebounds.