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Wheaton North holds on against West Chicago
By Bill Stone | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 12/7/2012 11:44 PM

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Senior Matt Biegalski and his Wheaton North boys basketball teammates played their best first quarter this season Friday against West Chicago.

The Falcons needed it.

After scoring the game’s first 10 points, they held off a late surge by the Wildcats and won the DuPage Valley Conference game 61-51 in Wheaton.

“I was glad for the guys we got a good start for once,” said Biegalski, who had 10 of his 19 points in the opening quarter. “We were calm when they made their runs. We fought back a little bit, got back into the swing of things and didn’t really panic. They’ve had close games. They’ve been playing really well. It was a good win for us as a team.”

Seniors Jaylen Howze, Andrew Zelis and Joe Wayhart also contributed for the Falcons (2-1, 1-1). Juniors John Coolidge and reserve Mike Cerone played point guard as starter Luc Moran missed his second game with a knee injury.

After the first charge by the Wildcats (2-5, 0-2), the Falcons scored the last four points of the third quarter for a 47-36 advantage.

The Wildcats scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to close to 47-43 with 5:51 to play. This time the Falcons scored baskets on their next six possessions, three by Howze, to pull ahead 59-47 with 2:52 left.

“Each time they made a run, it seemed like we responded well and I was happy with keeping our poise when they did make some big shots,” Wheaton North coach Dave Brackmann said. “We had a timeout (at 47-43) and just kind of gathered ourselves and executed real well offensively. We’ve been preaching that all week. We took a step forward tonight.”

West Chicago lost its fifth in a row, but its previous three losses were all in overtime.

Junior John Konchar was impressive with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. Konchar had eight points in the fourth quarter with baskets that brought the Wildcats to within four points twice.

“I’m trying to hold it back, but he is a great player,” said Howze, who guarded Konchar. “He’s just an all-around athlete. I’m always up for a challenge to guard the best player, but it was good, a lot of fun.”

Biegalski had three 3-pointers but scored on a key back-door pass from Wayhart for a 49-43 advantage. Howze followed with back-to-back inside buckets.

“We knew they’ve been playing deep in games. We knew we had to finish and go the whole 32 minutes,” Biegalski said.