St. Charles North topples South Elgin

  • South Elgin's Michael Hankins (35) attempt to block the shot of St. Charles North's Brady Rasso during Wednesday's Class 4A Hampshire regional semifinal boys basketball game. Rasso made the two-point shot.

      South Elgin's Michael Hankins (35) attempt to block the shot of St. Charles North's Brady Rasso during Wednesday's Class 4A Hampshire regional semifinal boys basketball game. Rasso made the two-point shot. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles North's Max Love (21) takes a shot over a host South Elgin defenders during Wednesday's Class 4A Hampshire regional semifinal boys basketball game.

      St. Charles North's Max Love (21) takes a shot over a host South Elgin defenders during Wednesday's Class 4A Hampshire regional semifinal boys basketball game. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • South Elgin's Josh Genz (5) drives to the basket past St. Charles North's Ethan Marlowe during Wednesday's Class 4A Hampshire regional semifinal boys basketball game.

      South Elgin's Josh Genz (5) drives to the basket past St. Charles North's Ethan Marlowe during Wednesday's Class 4A Hampshire regional semifinal boys basketball game. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles North's Justin Hughes (22) attempts a shot under pressure from South Elgin's Michael Hankins during Wednesday's Class 4A Hampshire regional semifinal boys basketball game.

      St. Charles North's Justin Hughes (22) attempts a shot under pressure from South Elgin's Michael Hankins during Wednesday's Class 4A Hampshire regional semifinal boys basketball game. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • South Elgin's Kendis Wiley, left, pressures St. Charles North's Max Love during Wednesday's Class 4A Hampshire regional semifinal boys basketball game.

      South Elgin's Kendis Wiley, left, pressures St. Charles North's Max Love during Wednesday's Class 4A Hampshire regional semifinal boys basketball game. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles North's Brady Rasso (11) drive around South Elgin's Michael Hankins during Wednesday's Class 4A Hampshire regional semifinal boys basketball game.

      St. Charles North's Brady Rasso (11) drive around South Elgin's Michael Hankins during Wednesday's Class 4A Hampshire regional semifinal boys basketball game. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/23/2022 10:24 PM

Max Love channeled that feeling from two years ago.

Love, a senior, was a sophomore on the St. Charles North team two years ago that reached a sectional final -- then saw its season end abruptly with the IHSA postseason stoppage due to the pandemic.

 

"I didn't want our season to have to end again, so I just figured I'd have to play as best as I could," Love said after the North Stars' 72-55 victory over South Elgin in the Class 4A Hampshire Regional semifinal on Wednesday.

He certainly played with a sense of urgency. Love finished with 28 points, 20 coming in the first half, with seven rebounds and two blocks.

"It's our last chance, and everything was wide open," Love said. "Whenever we would do the pick-and-pop with Ethan [Marlowe], go with Ethan. Or, when they would send two, I'd just find myself open."

With the win, the North Stars (16-14) will play for their third consecutive regional title against DeKalb on Friday. Tip-Off is at 7:30 p.m.

"They were ready. This is a team that's been waiting for the tournament to start," North Stars coach Tom Poulin said. "We put them through the grinder. Just look at our schedule. They have played everybody and gotten better because of it. But over and over saying: 'This is going to get us ready for the tournament.'"

"We had five practices to get ready for South Elgin and it showed," Poulin continued. "We feel like we gave up a few too many, but that's a good offensive team. They're in there saying [vice versa] but I like what we did defensively and we made it hard [to make shots]."

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After the North Stars built a 20-point advantage with 5:09 left in the third quarter, the Storm (17-15) cut it to 12. But the barrage of Love, Marlowe (nine points, 15 rebounds and four blocks) and Justin Hughes (12 points, five rebounds) was plenty from the offensive end alone.

"This team has been waiting for the tournament to get started," Poulin said. "Now that it has started, they're really hungry to have some success. They were just in [the locker room] talking about the third regional in a row for the program and how important it is to them. We, as coaches, understand DeKalb is a two seed and we're a three seed; there's a reason for that. They're very good."

"Seeing them tonight shows us that, they just confirmed what we thought, after looking at film," Poulin continued. "It's different sometimes when you see them in person, but no, they were impressive on film. They're impressive right now. They have some really good pieces and they're well coached so the challenge is going to be tough."

South Elgin was led by Elias Cole-Wlliams' 12 points, Drew Cwik's eight points and Brian Vesta had 10 points and four rebounds.

"They shot the ball extremely well," Storm coach Brett Johnson said of St. Charles North. "I thought we closed out on a handful of them, and we did speed them up and got them to miss [some] but what hurt us the most is: We didn't rebound those misses and they got, I think they had 14 second-chance points in that first half ... if we get a couple of those rebounds and turn them into scores, maybe we're only down five or six, which makes it more of a manageable game for us."

"There was no quit in this group all year," Johnson continued. "That's what I'm so proud of ... our kids fought to the end and that's all you can ask out of these kids every day with what they've been through for the past couple years. This group, I think is a special group for South Elgin because I think they're changing the culture of the South Elgin program because of the fight, determination and grit [they have] ... they work their butts off and get the most out of what they have."

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