Naperville North blows by rival Central
You couldn't blame Naperville North's Luke Williams for being fired up Friday night. After all his Huskies were hosting neighborhood rival Naperville Central in front of an old school large crowd.
The junior guard was a little overzealous on two fastbreak dunk attempts in the first half and couldn't quite complete the contested shots. But no worries. Williams and the Huskies defense created so many turnovers that those misses played no factor as the hosts won the DuPage Valley Conference game 65-35, a rare one-sided game between these two rivals.
After missing on his second dunk attempt, Williams went to the bench for a brief spell and was given some advice by the coaching stuff. Sure enough he was right back in the game, came away with another steal, and this time converted a layup as the Huskies stormed off to a 38-15 halftime lead. The Redhawks (4-7) had closed to within 11-9 on a second-chance bucket by Michael Boyce in the first quarter only to have Naperville North go on an 18-2 run that featured a swarming defense and hot shooting on the other end.
"Just get back in there. If you get another fastbreak just lay it up," Williams said when asked about the advice from his coaches. "You know it's gonna come. Just be patient. [The next time] I was just taking coach's advice and laying it up. I can't force it. It's just got to be in the moment."
Naperville North's entire squad was ready for Friday's moment. The Huskies shot 24 for 39 from the floor on the night with Williams leading the way with 18 points and 5 steals, even with the two missed dunks. The Redhawks committed 15 turnovers in the first half as North's pressure defense was too much to handle on this night.
Cole Arl and Jacob Nolen each added 11 points for the Huskies (6-4, 2-1), Bryce Welch hit a pair of 3s, and 6-foot-9 Charlie Farrell came off to bench to register 9 points (including two successful dunks) and 4 rebounds. Grant Montanari chipped in with 6 points but it was his presence at the top of the team's defense they had a big impact on the game.
"Grant at the top did a really nice job, whether he's getting hands or feet on the ball, he's doing a really nice job," Huskies coach Gene Nolan said. "He's making sure that the passes aren't direct, which allows the other player time to get to where they need to go. Playing what we call the chase position."
Senior guard Simon Krugliakovas paced Naperville Central with 14 points, but the Huskies held him to just two field goals in the first half with a smothering defense. Ivan Najdovski added 8 points for the visitors.
"I don't feel surprised [by the score]," said Williams, who admitted he was excited about facing the Redhawks. "I just know that's our true potential. If we play like that every game that can be the margin of the game. I mean it's Central. How can you not get fired up if it's crosstown. Some of those kids we've played against since third grade. It's a longtime rivalry. It's always fun."