Naperville North's guards frustrate Glenbard West
A trio of Naperville North juniors used to wreak havoc on opponents back in junior high and on Monday they did so against the defending state champs.
Huskies guards Bryce Welch, Luke Williams and Cole Arl, who played together at Washington Junior High, each scored in double figures and played great defense as Naperville North opened up play at the 48th Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York with a 49-44 defeat of Glenbard West. The Huskies (7-5) forced 21 turnovers in the morning contest and outscored the 6-3 Hilltoppers 16-4 in the decisive third quarter.
"We know that a lot of the times we come out flat starting in the third quarter ... we just really made it a point at halftime to come out strong because we felt like we could take advantage of what they were doing with our new adjustments," said Welch, who tallied 11 of his 16 points in the key third quarter. "We wanted to come out fast. We felt like that could be a big pivotal point in the game for us. Just get a lead and finish the game off."
Glenbard West led 23-19 at the half and their 1-3-1 zone defense caused problems for the Huskies team, especially Williams, who made just 2 of 12 shots from the floor. But Williams sparked a 14-0 run early in the second half with a spinning, driving layup that was followed by a strong move to the rim by Welch, who would also knock down a pair of 3-pointers in the second half. Arl had a pair of 3s in the first half and a pair of timely free throws late.
"We were just trying to be solid on defense, get turnovers and make them pass the ball fast or pass off the dribble," said Williams, who shot 5-for-6 in the second half on his way to a game-high 18 points. "Obviously my shots weren't falling so I was trying to get a teammate open or go to the basket to make it easier. Glenbard West is a great solid team, and with the 1-3-1, it was key to get easy buckets off the transition."
Naperville North forced 6 turnovers in the third quarter and the guard trio of Welch, Williams and Arl finished the game with a combined 44 points -- matching the Hilltoppers' team total -- and 6 steals.
"They had the run and jump going and we turned it over too much," Hilltoppers coach Jason Opoka said. "A lot of their possessions and points came in transition off back pedaling defensively. They did a nice job of frustrating us. That was a good game plan, mucking it up. It's easy offensively if you can see the rim and you've got a full head of steam."
Sophomore Dominic Seaney connected on four 3s to score 12 points, while center Logan Brown had 12 points and 8 rebounds for Glenbard West.
With the win, the Huskies earned a second-round matchup with St. Ignatius, a 64-36 winner over Minooka on Monday morning. In another early Monday contest St. Francis fell to Glenbrook South 63-33.