Naperville North stymies cold-shooting North Stars
After losing eight seniors from a 16-win campaign a season ago, St. Charles North entered a nonconference home bout with Naperville North Wednesday night having lost 14 of its first 17 games, including six by five points or less.
North Staras coach Tom Poulin has tried to remind his team that despite a rough beginning an in-season turnaround is still possible as he talked about after one of those heartbreaking losses at Glenbard North on Jan. 7.
"We can show them on film and in our team meetings. We can have those discussions and show them when we do things right, how we play," Poulin said. "It's really a good group of kids. And as coaches, you really like them as people. That makes it easy to keep on fighting and to be able to communicate and be honest with each other. That's the key and we're right there and we're taking steps."
Unfortunately for Poulin and his cagers, they ran right into a Huskie buzz saw. Naperville North established itself early and left them behind in procuring a 57-20 road victory at the corner of Redgate road and Rt. 31 to move its season mark to 13-9.
"I'm proud of our kids. It's tough to go on the road against a great program like St. Charles North," Naperville North coach Gene Nolan said. "Tom does such a good job and their kids play so hard. You feel fortunate to come here and be able to win because I know how hard it is to do that."
The key to the contest that worked in the Huskies' favor was their ability to take advantage of SCN's shooting woes. The Huskies built a commanding 32-11 advantage at halftime as the home team shot just 4 of 23 (17%) in the first two quarters to pull away from a 13-6 lead at the end of one.
Leading the way for the visitors was junior guard Luke Williams who tallied 15 of his game-high 20 points during the first 16 minutes of play.
He also added a game-high 10 boards and 3 steals to the winning North cause.
"Early on I wanted to get my teammates open for good shots that got us going and (we) stepped up," Williams said. "Our energy and effort got (us) through it. Our practices aren't going to be long, but they're going to (have) intensity (where) we work hard so we can perform on the basketball court with fresh legs and fresh minds."
Fellow Huskies juniors Core Arl and Jack Kallstrand joined Williams in double figures with 12 points apiece while North Stars junior swingman Parker Reinke led the home team with 9. The North Stars finished 8 for 37 (21%) from the floor.
St. Charles North (3-15) returns to DuKane Conference play with a trip to first-place Wheaton Warrenville South Friday night while Naperville North hosts Neuqua Valley in a round two DuPage Valley Conference clash also on Friday.
"We had some efficient possessions in the second and third quarters," Nolan said. "It's not easy to do that because St. Charles North guards so well. I thought we were able to get some good looks against a team that plays so well at home."