St. Charles North knocks off rival
Jimmy Durocher has prepared for his senior season of varsity basketball since he entered high school.
That buy-in demonstrating effort, athleticism and a willing to put in the work is paying off for the St. Charles North senior.
"He came in the gym the first couple days and wasn't with the first group. (He) was working with the second and third group," St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said after the North Stars' 65-60 win over St. Charles East on Saturday. "Didn't put his head down. His body language was good. He battled and fought (for his playing time)."
Durocher's effort against Wheaton Warrenville South last week gave Poulin reason enough to start him the following day against Wheaton North, and he has ever since.
"He just basically said, 'No, I'm going to play; I'm going to show you I deserve to play' and he got it done," Poulin said. "So, I'm really proud of Jimmy."
Durocher continued his solid stretch Saturday, scoring 15 points and grabbing 8 rebounds to help the North Stars rebound from a difficult loss to Geneva on Wednesday.
While fellow senior Ethan Marlowe grabs plenty of opposing attention for his output and athleticism, Durocher appears comfortable blending into a starting lineup that typically showcases plenty of offensive firepower with the likes of Max and Jude Love.
"Ethan, Max, Jude, they all deserve the recognition. They're ballplayers," Durocher said. "Honestly, I'm happy we're able to get the win tonight. I'm glad to be a factor for this team."
Durocher reflected that his biggest impact might be his ability to drive to the hoop so he can kick it out to shooters on the wing.
"That's pretty much what I'm focusing on," Durocher said. "My defense, try to take as many charges as I can. I don't want people scoring on me."
The Saints (1-5, 1-3) took a 32-29 halftime lead, but North surged ahead 48-47 entering the four quarter. Saints senior Matthew Peddy showcased his scoring ability, pouring in 14 of his 24 points in the first half. Peddy also was strong on the boards, grabbing 8.
With 4:11 left in the fourth quarter, Peddy hit a jumper to pull the Saints within 56-53. Durocher and East's Zach Masud traded layups and then Durocher hit a 3-pointer put the North Stars up 61-55.
Marlowe followed with a layup, but Peddy answered with three free throws with 58 seconds left. Durocher sank both free throws to allow the North Stars (4-1, 3-1 DuKane Conference) to hold on.
"Our defense worked the way we wanted to; we had the opportunities, we just, unfortunately, got beat on the boards," St. Charles East coach Pat Woods said. "We were a smaller team. I still felt like we could've had a couple of those loose balls and rebounds. I thought we were in a good position.
"Matthew Peddy played a phenomenal game; shot the ball real well," Woods continued. "We had good contributions from a lot of different guys."
After Peddy, Masud chipped in 8 points and 6 rebounds, while Rahul Gor had 8 points and 7 rebounds for East. Joe Musial had 7 points.
"We definitely played better on the defensive end as a team at the end of the game (tonight)," said Jude Love, who had 17 points and 8 rebounds for the North Stars. "We felt like in the first half 32 points was way too many."
The North Stars adjusted on their ball screen rotations and decisions after Geneva senior Nate Valentine's 33-point game to beat North Wednesday. It paid off.
"We switched everything. We made sure nothing was easy," Jude Love said.
The North Stars continue to get solid 3-point shooting from Justin Hughes (9 points) off the bench.
On the opposite end, St. Charles East has practiced only 13 times on the season.
"In a traditional year, we have 14 practices before our first game," Woods said. "The improvements that we're making, I thought we took a big stride tonight. But, unfortunately, it wasn't enough. That's the hard part about the season the way it is: You don't get that prep time. You don't get that practice time. So, they got to go home and watch film and we've got to figure out a way to beat Geneva tomorrow. That's all we can do."