St. Charles North escapes with win over Batavia
Ned Hayes' worst fears did not come to fruition this time.
"I had a PTSD flashback," the St. Charles North guard said after Trent Tousana failed to duplicate his heroics from the last boys basketball season.
The North Stars could rest easy in their latest DuKane Conference encounter with Batavia as a result.
In a back-and-forth struggle Wednesday night in St. Charles, the North Stars escaped with a 49-47 victory when Tousana had his 3-pointer bounce innocuously off the front rim as time expired.
Last year, the Batavia lead guard hit an eerie similar shot from beyond the arc to give the Bulldogs a dramatic 1-point win at the buzzer.
"That was the shot we wanted," said Batavia post Austin Ambrose, who played a starring role in the Bulldogs storming back from an 11-point third-quarter deficit. "(Tousana) hit a shot from that exact spot last year. We all had faith that he could hit another shot in the clutch."
St. Charles North seemingly had the game in command, only to let Batavia back in the game as the former had two normally sound free-throw shooters misfire on the front end of the penalty late.
"We had the guys we wanted at the line," SCN coach Tom Poulin said.
But the North Stars never ultimately lost their 4-point halftime lead. Hayes was a principal architect in Batavia always being faced with a fourth-quarter deficit.
The Bulldogs scored 10 straight points to close out the third and start the fourth. The North Stars' once 38-27 lead plummeted to a mere point, but Hayes' first of two monumental 3-pointers hemorrhaged the bleeding.
"I just let them fly," said Hayes, who finished with 10 points. "All season long (Poulin) has been telling me to shoot. (There was) no hesitation."
Hayes' second downtown jumper doubled the North Stars' lead to 46-40.
Framed by the North Stars' unexpected free-throw misses, Tousana scored 3 straight points.
The Bulldogs' Alex Taylor had his only points of the game with 2 free throws in the hectic final 16 seconds.
Yet another split trip at the line by SCN with 10.1 seconds to play put the spotlight back on Tousana.
"Jude (Love) did a nice job of contesting that shot," Poulin said.
"It was a good team win," Hayes said of SCN breaking free of the Bulldogs for solo third place in the DuKane Conference.
Seven consecutive combined field goals in the opening half produced an equal number of lead changes in succession to illuminate the fierceness of the struggle.
SCN senior leader Ethan Marlowe scored 14 of his game-high 16 points before the intermission. The Love twins, Jude and Max, contributed 15 more for the North Stars. Ethan Ivan and Ambrose paced Batavia with 14 and 12 points. Foul-plagued Tousana added 9.
"We made too many mistakes when their two best players (Marlowe and Max Love) were on the bench," Ambrose said.