Nicoloudes gets job done in Naperville Central victory vs. Waubonsie Valley
Pambos Nicoloudes will remember his first start of the season.
His 10 points and 10 rebounds were crucial to the Naperville Central boys basketball team beating Waubonsie Valley 63-52 on Friday night in Aurora.
"My job was to rebound and get the ball into the scorers," said the 6-foot-1 junior.
He didn't play basketball last season to focus on his main sport, baseball.
"I was glad to come back in and start," Nicoloudes, primarily a third baseman, said. He has received interest from college baseball teams including the University of Illinois-Chicago. His father, Leonidas, came to the United States from Greece at age 19 and played baseball at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.
"(Nicoloudes) is capable of starting. He just hasn't started. We changed our lineup tonight and went smaller and quicker," said Naperville Central coach Pete Kramer. "The last couple of days we have practiced really hard and were ready to go."
The Redhawks (14-4, 4-1 DuPage Valley Conference) jumped out to a 17-4 advantage in the opening quarter. However, Waubonsie (11-10, 2-4) closed the period on a 7-2 run and stayed on the heels of the Redhawks the rest of the night.
With just under seven minutes remaining in the contest, the Warriors' Jason Langendorf hit for a 2-pointer to pull his team to within 48-44. However, Naperville Central made six free throws and two 3-point baskets from Mantas Zilys, who scored a game-high 19 points including four of his team's 12 3-pointers.
Langendorf led his team with 13 points.
For Waubonsie coach Andrew Schweitzer, it was another example of the Warriors trying to overcome a bad start.
"Naperville Central is extremely talented and posed matchup problems," he said. "But this is happening too often. We can't be a team trying to claw out of a huge hole."
Tyler Threat also hit double-digit points with 11. For Naperville Central, James Jopes hit for 16 points and five 3-pointers. Jonah Hinton made 15 points with the help of three 3-pointers.
"This (win) means a lot. It gets our momentum going with conference," Zilys said.