Naperville Central gets back in the groove against Metea Valley

By D.J. Wanberg
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/14/2022 10:50 PM

The Naperville Central boys basketball team finished this week successfully trying to get its groove back after an unwanted hiatus.

The Redhawks big third quarter blew open Friday night's home game against Metea Valley, and Naperville Central earned an 81-55 victory.


The team had not been at full strength at the Chuck Dayton Classic in DeKalb over the holidays, and last week's games against DeKalb and Lockport were put on hold due to COVID-19 issues on the Naperville Central squad.

The Redhawks (12-4, 3-1 DuPage Valley Conference) got back into action Wednesday with a 53-49 victory over Nazareth at the Lakes Community Shootout.

"We were down by 18 against Nazareth and the bench came in and sparked us just like tonight," said Naperville Central coach Pete Kramer. "This is the first week that we have everyone back."

After the Redhawks led 19-10 after the first quarter, Metea (7-11, 0-5) erupted for 20 points to trail just 36-30 at halftime.

Just 1:07 into the third quarter, two free throws by the Mustangs' Chandrahaas Duggirala pulled his team to within 38-34. But then Naperville Central grabbed the momentum and didn't let go, finishing the period on a 20-9 run to lead 58-39.

"We were playing hard and trying to get back on track. In the second half, we tightened things up," said Redhawks senior Jonah Hinton, who scored a game-high 24 points. Mantas Zilys followed with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

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Jahki Gray led the Mustangs with 18 points. Javion Grizzle followed on the scoresheet with 12 and 7 rebounds.

Metea coach Isaiah Davis said it's about his team trying to find consistency.

"We have to sustain a high level of play. We are up and down. We have to sustain a full 32 minutes of play," he said. "We have a lot of younger players playing a lot of minutes."

Davis said shooting is also a concern.

"We have to finish at the rim. We left so many points at the rim that I quit counting," he said.

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