Hayes heats up, shoots St. Charles North past Geneva
Once Ned Hayes swished his first three-pointer, confidence undeniably waved through his head.
When Hayes is open, he's "gonna rip it."
"Really [in] the past year, I've gone through some shooting struggles," the St. Charles North senior guard said following the North Stars' 56-47 victory over Geneva on Saturday. "I've just kind of worked it out a little bit and the past few weeks, I've felt a little more hot."
Hayes finished with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field and 4-of-8 from beyond the arc.
Evidently, Hayes is one of multiple players in the North Stars' rotation that can hit from deep at a given time.
North Stars senior guard Justin Hughes, who finished with 13 points and two rebounds, would agree.
"It's all mental. Once you saw that first one go in, it was just huge for his confidence," Hughes said. "For us specifically, all five of us can shoot from anywhere and can attack. So just depending on who the defense is guarding, we can all make the defense pay."
"I think tonight, that [Geneva] zone, they were leaving the middle open and [Hayes'] signature two-dribble pull-up, just from the nail [and he] hit it," Hughes continued.
North Stars coach Tom Poulin sees Hayes' confidence growing "more and more every day."
"Which is scary because he's very athletic; he knows how to play," Poulin said. "When he's confident and assertive, he's another very good basketball player on this team. [Geneva wasn't] leaving Max [Love open]; they weren't leaving Ethan [Marlowe]. I feel like we have multiple people on ... any given night, it could be somebody else who goes off."
"Ned took advantage of an opportunity and that's what we're looking for," Poulin continued. "I think Jude [Love went] for 20 and 10 the other night against Wheaton North. Ned steps up tonight. We've got more weapons than just Ethan and Max and I thought both of them played well. But, I'm really happy for Ned. He deserves a night like this."
The North Stars (5-3, 2-1 DuKane Conference) on two occasions built 20-point leads as Hayes and Hughes fueled their offensive onslaught. St. Charles North led by 18 going into the fourth quarter, but the Vikings (5-3, 1-2) picked up steam down the stretch.
Jimmy Rasmussen and Mick Lawrence powered the comeback in the fourth quarter, combining for 17 points to pull the Vikings within 10 with 46 seconds left after Lawrence's two free throws. After North Stars junior Mason Siegfried missed two free throws, Lawrence responded with a layup to pull Geneva within eight, but Jude Love answered with a layup of his own.
Rasmussen hit a three, but Max Love's free throws in the final seconds clinched the victory for the North Stars.
" ... I think we were down 18 or 19 at half, you can't [do that]," Geneva coach Scott Hennig said. "Tom is too good of a coach. Marlowe and Max Love are really good. We tried to slow the game down a little bit, tried to throw some different defenses. They're [the North Stars] really, really good. He knows that; we know that. So, we tried to do some different things. I give their kids credit. I thought Ned Hayes played really well."
After being held scoreless in the first half, Lawrence finished with 17 points and five rebounds. Rasmussen had 14 points and four rebounds, while Chris Suger had nine points, all on three pointers.
"[The comeback] is a credit to our kids," Hennig said. "That fourth quarter, I thought we played really hard and made some shots. I thought Mick really stepped up."
"Hayden Vostal, a sophomore, played really well. This is his first varsity game [due to injury]. I thought he gave us some good energy. Played the top of the zone, rebounded. Really impressed."