Red-hot Reynolds helps send DeKalb past St. Charles North
You wouldn't know Sean Reynolds is a sophomore by looking at him.
There is an unmatched confidence and demand for the basketball in the game's most important spots.
Despite trailing for much of Wednesday night's Class 4A St. Charles North Regional semifinal against the host North Stars, Reynolds kept a calm demeanor that spread among his DeKalb teammates.
The 6-foot-1 sophomore made five 3-pointers en route to a game-high 24 points to lead the Barbs past St. Charles North 52-46 and into the championship game against Hampshire, a 61-49 winner over Larkin.
The regional's top seed, DeKalb (22-10) did not lead in the first half and did not take its first lead of the night until Reynolds' only two-point basket of the game at the 4:15 mark of the third quarter.
"We expected to come here tonight and have to fight for 32 minutes, and it took every last one of them," DeKalb coach Mike Reynolds said. "We respect the heck out of [St. Charles North]. That's not a typical No. 6 seed, with the grueling schedule that they play."
The Barbs led for the remainder of the third quarter, but the North Stars (6-24) would not go away as back-to-back buckets from Parker Reinke gave St. Charles North the lead back at 36-34.
North Stars coach Tom Poulin echoed the expectation of a battle, saying his team showed up Wednesday night "expecting to win", regardless of the seeds on the scoreboard. However, it was an all-too-familiar feeling as the North Stars left the court for the final time this season.
"We've had a lot of valiant efforts," Poulin said. "We have come up short against a lot of good teams this season. We just went out there and battled the top seed to the very end. At the end of the day, we made some mistakes and left the one guy open that you just can't leave open."
"I think we did a good job at keeping our cool throughout. I think we knew that we had been here before and there was no reason to panic.
The last of Reynolds' five 3-pointers was a dagger to give the Barbs a six-point lead with 2:35 to go as part of a 7-0 run. St. Charles North never got closer than five points after that bucket.
"Sean probably wants a few of those good looks back, too," DeKalb coach Mike Reynolds said of his son. "Those are shots he usually makes, but obviously made some big plays for us tonight."
The standout guard also made 5 of 6 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory and erase a deficit that got to as many as nine midway through the second quarter.
"I think we did a good job at keeping our cool throughout," Sean Reynolds said. "I think we knew that we had been here before and there was no reason to panic. I think we definitely need to have a little bit better energy coming out from the start moving forward, but at this point in the year, we just want to find a way to win, and did that tonight."
DeKalb also got a boost from senior guard Cooper Phelps, who added four 3-pointers of his own in the victory. Despite battling an injury for some of the season, Phelps has found ways to contribute and give Sean Reynolds a break on the offensive end.
Phelps finished with 16 points as the only other Barb in double figures to help overcome a couple of starters battling foul trouble. The Barbs connected on 9 of 25 3-point attempts, while the North Stars only made 3 of 20 (including 0 for 10 in the second half).
Jake Furtney provided a spark for the North Stars with a team-high 18 points, while Parker Reinke also reached double figures with 13 points in the loss.