Naperville North's big 4th quarter keys win at Wheaton Academy
It was a game of runs and Naperville North's basketball team enjoyed the last surge, pulling away from Wheaton Academy during Tuesday night's 60-45 nonconference victory in West Chicago.
Ahead 35-28 midway through the third quarter, the Huskies (4-4) found themselves trailing 38-35 a couple minutes later following the Warriors' 10-0 run that featured a steal and layup from Wandy Munoz (12 points, 3 steals), a 3-pointer by Wade Davis, and 5 consecutive points from Jeffrey Hillmer (11 points).
Naperville North tallied the last 6 points of the third quarter to grab a 41-38 lead and put the game out of reach with 12 unanswered points that turned a 6-point lead into a 58-40 advantage with 2:29 remaining.
"We were on the receiving end of a 10-0 run on the road so for us to answer that was big," said Huskies coach Gene Nolan. "I think we combined productive defensive possessions with efficient offensive possessions."
Junior guards Bryce Welch (17 points) and Cole Arl (15 points) combined for 9 points during the Huskies' late 12-0 run.
"We're doing a better job finishing games," said Welch, whose team outscored the Warriors (3-4) 19-7 in the final quarter. "We're finding our identity defensively and figuring out who we are."
Utilizing an active 2-3 zone, the Huskies pressured the Warriors into 22 turnovers, which led to 15 more field-goal attempts (40-25) at the offensive end.
"We like to get our hands up to make passing side to side really difficult," said Welch. "After that, it just comes down to playing as hard as we can and together as a unit."
Junior guard Luke Williams finished with 17 points and 4 steals for the Huskies.
"We feel very fortunate to come out of here with a win," said Nolan, whose team hosts DeKalb Friday night. "They're (the Warriors) such a difficult team to defend because of their ability to shoot 3s along with the ability to get into the paint off the dribble surrounded by shooters."
The loss snapped Wheaton Academy's 3-game winning streak.
"We turned it over 20-plus times, which is something we knew we couldn't do," said Warriors coach Daniel Smith.
"We played against Timothy Christian's 1-3-1 zone and beat them by 30 points. I give them (the Huskies) props. Not only do they play a great system, there were a couple times where we had shots, but they close out so well -- we had to fake and put it (the ball) back on the deck. They scramble well.
"Our worst quarter was the fourth and that's not how you win games."
Jack Kallstrand added 6 points for the Huskies.
"This was a good game for us," said Nolan. "I think we learned a lot about ourselves and the things that we need to get batter at."