Naperville North registers DVC victory over Waubonsie Valley
What started as a potential blowout turned into a game reflective of a high school boys basketball conference race in January.
Naperville North held off host Waubonsie Valley 54-46 on Wednesday night in Aurora.
For the Huskies (9-8 overall, 3-2 DuPage Valley Conference), it was all about defense.
"Coach (Gene Nolan) said to play defense like we're down (trailing) and not up and to communicate on defense," said sophomore Luke Williams, who scored a game-high 18 points.
North charged out right from the beginning. Consecutive steals turned into baskets by Zeke Williams, who scored 14 points, and Luke Williams that put the Warriors (10-7, 2-3) on their heels and down 9-2 just 2:24 into the game.
Waubonsie called an immediate timeout to try and slow things down, but it did not work and the Huskies led 20-6 after the first quarter.
The Warriors got back into the game in the second period with the help of 2 3-point baskets by Braylon Spicer and a single 3-point bucket from Tre Blissett along with shooting 4-of-4 from the free-throw line. Waubonsie would trail North just 32-23 at halftime.
"We just started taking care of the ball. You can't play defense when you turn the ball over," said Warriors coach Andrew Schweitzer. "Naperville North played their trails off on defense and then turned it into offense."
The Huskies led 43-31 going into the final quarter and Waubonsie started the fourth with a 9-0 run to pull within 3 at 43-40. Blissett, who led his team with 10 points, made good on a 3-point play with Samy Ennassin hitting for a basket and 2 free throws and Tyler Helbing made good for two additional free throws during the run.
"I liked our fight in the second half," Schweitzer said.
"We tried to play good defense. Waubonsie was hard to guard on offense. You have to keep building on the lead and keep the pressure on throughout the game," Zeke Williams said.
After Waubonsie's strong start to the fourth quarter, the Huskies responded by scoring 11 of the game's final 17 points.
Cole Arl was the third North player scoring in double digits with 10 points, including 2 3-point baskets.
"Waubonsie can hurt you in so many ways. They have great shooters. They have great athletes," Nolan said. "They had us on their hip offensively. But at the beginning and late we were keeping them in front of us."
The Huskies have won six of their last seven games.
"Our kids are getting better," Nolan said.