Wheaton Warrenville South does what it takes to oust Naperville North
They fought like cats and dogs, but Friday was the Tigers' night.
Wheaton Warrenville South held off a late comeback attempt to defeat the Huskies of Naperville North 45-30 and claim the Class 4A West Chicago regional crown.
The Tigers will face Geneva, which edged Glenbard West 43-42 in another defensive matchup, on Wednesday in the Bartlett sectional semifinals.
WW South's defense controlled most of the game as the Tigers led 26-11 late in the third quarter. The Huskies' offense finally came alive and scored 7 straight points, getting within 26-18 on a 3-pointer by Bryce Welch and getting the Huskies' crowd involved.
Jake Vozza quickly quieted that crowd with a 3-pointer at the other end. Jacob Nolen answered for Naperville North. But the Tigers' Colin Moore drove the lane for layups on two straight possessions and Brody Canfield canned a 3-pointer for a 36-21 lead. Naperville North never got closer than 10 thereafter.
Tigers coach Mike Healy didn't call time out after the Huskies scored 7 straight, and his team regrouped quickly.
"We've been in those situations many times in close games, so we were ready for it," Vozza said.
"They were pretty locked in today, so you've just got to let them go," Healy said. "We burned a couple [of timeouts] early, so we were trying to hang on. But our guys made a lot of plays, they did a great job."
Braylen Meredith led Wheaton Warrenville South (27-5) with 15 points. Vozza finished with 11. Moore did a little of everything, with 9 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. But it was the Tigers' defense that paved the way for the victory. The Tigers held the Huskies to 8 first-half points and 15 through three quarters, forcing them to work for every shot.
"Some games are offensive games, some games are defensive games," Vozza said. "Our whole program is based on 'always defense.'"
Luke Williams scored all 9 of his points in the second half for Naperville North (20-12). Cole Arl added 8 and Nolen finished with 5 points and 5 rebounds.
Naperville North took its last lead at 5-3 on a drive by Nolen and was as close as 9-8 midway through the second. WW South scored the first half's final 8 points. They added 4 more to start the second half, building the lead to 21-8, and the Huskies never recovered.
It was 26-11 when Jack Kallstrand scored for Naperville North. Arl's steal led to a breakaway. Although he missed, Williams put back the rebound to give the Huskies life although they still trailed 26-15 after 24 minutes.