St. Charles North overtakes Saints in 2nd half
Less than 24 hours earlier, St. Charles North basketball coach Tom Poulin admitted some concern as his team prepared to face a St. Charles East team still searching for its win of the season.
"I went to bed last night more worried about this game than when we're both 10-4," said Poulin.
Playing energetic and inspired ball on their home floor, the Saints (0-9, 0-4) gave Poulin added cause for concern by taking a 25-24 halftime lead.
"We made some mistakes early in the game," said Poulin.
Trent Warren and Rahul Gor had 12 and 8 points, respectively, as the Saints forced 9 first-half turnovers.
"They came out and played better basketball than us," said Poulin. "They played better defense, which led to transition 3s."
The North Stars (6-3, 3-1) still trailed 37-36 in the third quarter before senior Max Love hit a pair of 3-pointers over the final 54 seconds of the period to turn a 1-point deficit into a 42-37 lead.
"I thought Love hit 3 big 3s for them, and it wasn't like he was wide open," said Saints coach Patrick Woods. "He had a guy in his face and drained them."
From there, the North Stars gradually pulled away down the stretch during their 62-49 DuKane Conference victory Friday night.
"It was a 13-point win but that's not a 13-point game," said Poulin. "At halftime, we needed to regroup and get back to work."
That is exactly what the North Stars did, particularly at the defensive end as they forced the Saints into 8 third-quarter turnovers.
"Our offense is going to come," said Love, who finished with a team-leading 20 points, 12 rebounds, 6 steals and 3 blocked shots as the North Stars won their fourth straight game. "We wanted to focus on defense in the second half because we were letting them get open looks."
Love, who tallied 15 second-half points, including four 3-pointers, felt the momentum changed heading into the fourth quarter.
"Once we went up by one or two points, we weren't going to give up that lead," said Love. "Mostly, it was getting stops on defense."
St. Charles North outscored its rivals 38-24 in the second half.
Senior forward Ethan Marlowe added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the North Stars.
"We have to keep playing together," said Marlowe. "We're still figuring things out offensively. We've got each other's backs and we're going to stay confident."
Saints senior forward Gor led all players with 26 points, including all 12 of his team's 4th-quarter points.
"He put us on his back," Woods said of Gor, who connected on six 3-pointers. "He was great. I thought he played his best overall game yet."
Warren finished with 14 points while AJ Gaca added 9 rebounds and 4 steals for the Saints.
"The turnovers were the name of the game -- it has been our Achilles' heel for us all year," said Woods. "I loved our effort. I thought they played the hardest they've played yet. We're just continuing to focus on getting better -- that's where we're at."