Furtney powers St. Charles North over Saints to snap 10-game DuKane skid
The wins have been hard to come by for St. Charles North's basketball team this season.
Searching for their first DuKane Conference victory, the North Stars (6-19, 1-10) broke through at one of the most opportune times, snapping a 10-game conference losing streak with a hard-fought, 69-62 win over crosstown rival St. Charles East (11-15, 5-6) Friday night in St. Charles.
Junior 6-foot-5 center Jake Furtney scored a career-high 29 points and collected a game-high 12 rebounds for the North Stars, who used an 8-0 run over the final 1:50 to pull away from the host Saints.
"It feels great," said Furtney, who shot 10-for-15 from the field and used his bulk down low to frustrate the Saints' interior defense.
"We've been fighting for it (first conference win) for a long time. We've been working hard for it. We've come close so many times, so it feels good to get the first (win)."
St. Charles East grabbed a 62-61 lead on a 3-point play from senior guard Steven Call (14 points, 6 rebounds) with 2:57 remaining before the North Stars took the lead for good on a clutch 3-pointer by junior forward Parker Reinke (10 points, 3 steals) with 1:50 left.
"When they're (Saints) worried about the big guy (Furtney) down low, things happen," said North Stars coach Tom Poulin. "If we go inside-out -- I know that's kind of old school -- it's going to make our outside guys even better because they can play."
Following a Saints turnover, Furtney inflicted a little more damage inside, rebounding a missed free throw for an easy basket, extending North's lead to 66-62 with 52 seconds remaining.
"That's where our advantage was -- inside," said Poulin. "We started two bigs even though we knew they were going to press. That's risky but our advantage is inside and we wanted to force-feed it."
Juniors Daniel Connolly and Luke Holtz added 14 and 10 points, respectively, as the North Stars atoned for their 42-39 loss to the Saints on Dec. 16.
"It's good to see these guys compete intelligently for four quarters," said Poulin. "They tried to win. They did the things that win consistently. That's what we've been striving for."
Playing before a near capacity crowd, the North Stars enjoyed a 34-27 edge on the glass.
"We always say when we come here that we want to be the eye of the storm," said Poulin. "(Retired assistant) Rob Prentiss told us that years ago -- to be the eye of the storm. We wanted to have fun.
"This place, when it's East-North with a full house -- this is high school basketball so enjoy it. I'm happy for them because they've been through a lot, and they keep coming to work and they keep playing hard."
"This is the one game I had circled," added Furtney. "It's fun to come out here and do something like that."
Drew Clarke came off the bench to score a team-high 16 points for the Saints, while Jack Borri had 11 points, Jacob Vrankovich added 8 points and 6 rebounds, and Eddie Herrera had 7 points and 4 assists.
"They were ready for us," said Saints coach Patrick Woods. "I feel like it was a flipped script from last year. That's the beauty of the East-North rivalry."
Prior to the game, the East and North Drill Team members announced they raised $52,698.13 for charity through its 28th annual Kick-A-Thon.
Retiring Saints coach Kari Batka, who began the fundraising event in 1993, received a standing ovation for her efforts, which have helped raise more than $1.5 million to fight cancer.