St. Charles North grinds out win over Lake Park

  • Lake Park's Vito LaGioia (5) works around the St. Charles North defense during Tuesday's boys basketball game in St. Charles.

      Lake Park's Vito LaGioia (5) works around the St. Charles North defense during Tuesday's boys basketball game in St. Charles. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles North's Tajuan Pinex takes a shot over Lake Park's Camden Cerese (24) during Tuesday's boys basketball game in St. Charles.

      St. Charles North's Tajuan Pinex takes a shot over Lake Park's Camden Cerese (24) during Tuesday's boys basketball game in St. Charles. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles North's Ethan Marlowe (1) battles for the rebound with Lake Park's from left Matthew Zakic, Thomas Rochford and Camden Cerese during Tuesday's boys basketball game in St. Charles.

      St. Charles North's Ethan Marlowe (1) battles for the rebound with Lake Park's from left Matthew Zakic, Thomas Rochford and Camden Cerese during Tuesday's boys basketball game in St. Charles. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Park's Thomas Rochford pulls down one of his multiple rebounds during Tuesday's boys basketball game at St. Charles North.

      Lake Park's Thomas Rochford pulls down one of his multiple rebounds during Tuesday's boys basketball game at St. Charles North. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Park's Matthew Zakic (23) takes a shot over St. Charles North's Mason Siegfried during Tuesday's boys basketball game in St. Charles.

      Lake Park's Matthew Zakic (23) takes a shot over St. Charles North's Mason Siegfried during Tuesday's boys basketball game in St. Charles. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles North's Mason Siegfried (2) and Ethan Marlowe (1) attempt to block the shot of Lake Park's Thomas Rochford during Tuesday's boys basketball game in St. Charles.

      St. Charles North's Mason Siegfried (2) and Ethan Marlowe (1) attempt to block the shot of Lake Park's Thomas Rochford during Tuesday's boys basketball game in St. Charles. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/8/2022 10:47 PM

Saying that the basketball teams from Lake Park and St. Charles North are evenly matched would be an understatement of sorts.

A little more than a month after Lake Park edged St. Charles North, 51-49, in Roselle, the North Stars (14-12, 8-4) earned a measure of revenge Tuesday night during their 39-36 DuKane Conference victory over the Lancers (20-5, 10-2) in St. Charles.

 

The final quarter included a tie and 5 lead changes, the last coming when North Stars senior forward Ethan Marlowe hit a pair of free throws with 1:26 remaining to give his team a 35-34 advantage.

After TJ Pinex split two free throws with 49 seconds left, Marlowe grabbed an offensive rebound and fed Max Love for a reverse layup to make it 38-34 with 36 seconds remaining.

A few moments later, Ned Hayes (9 points, 6 rebounds) split a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left to make it 39-36, leaving the Lancers with one final possession.

Matt Zakic inbounded the ball to Vito LaGioia, who gave it right back to Zakic for a 3-point attempt that bounced off the rim in the closing seconds.

"Zakic made a great read on our last play to step into the inbounder," said Lancers coach Billy Pitcher. "It was a smart play, and we got a good look. I thought it was going in."

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Marlowe led the North Stars with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Love scored 8 of his 10 points in the second half.

"Our season has been about learning," said Love. "We've lost a lot of close games, so we've been focusing on keeping leads and winning the last three minutes of the game.

"We're learning from everything."

Early in the second quarter, the North Stars trailed 13-3 after missing 9 of their 10 first-quarter shots from the field.

"That's the worst start you can have against a team like Lake Park," said North Stars coach Tom Poulin. "But the guys dug in defensively. They (the Lancers) make you play defense for long periods of time and wait for you to break down and get their bucket."

While holding the Lancers scoreless for the last 6 ½ minutes of the second quarter, the North Stars closed out the first half on a 14-0 surge to take a 17-13 halftime lead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"One of our keys on defense is to deny reversals," said Love, "especially against a team like that. The farther away from the basket we can move them, the easier it is on us to get to our spots."

LaGioia scored a game-high 25 points for the Lancers, who fell 2 games behind conference-leading Wheaton Warrenville South. The teams meet Friday night in Wheaton.

"I thought LaGioia probably had the best game of his career," said Pitcher. "They (North Stars) got two offensive rebounds on missed free throws down the stretch. Two possessions like that and you end up losing by three."

The Senior Night win was significant for the North Stars.

"I'm just really happy for our seniors," said Poulin. "Winning a close game against a quality team the last time on their court -- it's a great memory to have."

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