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St. Charles North handles Streamwood
By Craig Brueske | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 1/12/2013 10:55 PM

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Sometimes a loss can serve as a good learning tool.

After letting a halftime lead slip away during a 45-38 loss to Bartlett 4 days ago, St. Charles North’s boys basketball team wasn’t about to watch a rerun occur during Saturday night’s home game against Streamwood.

Instead, the North Stars (10-6, 4-2) outscored the Sabres 37-18 in the second half on their way to a convincing 73-38 Upstate Eight Conference River Division victory.

“We came out against Bartlett with a lot of energy and lost it in the second half,” said senior guard Quinten Payne, who scored a game-high 19 points in less than 3 quarters of playing time. “That was a good learning thing because we came back with tons of energy.”

Energy that might have evolved from the North Stars’ spirited late-week practice sessions.

“We didn’t just go with our typical first five against second five,” said North Stars coach Tom Poulin. “We mixed everybody up and got a little extra competitiveness in practice, and I think that showed in the game. That didn’t happen in the second half against Bartlett.”

With the game tied at 18-18 early in the second quarter, the North Stars seized control with a 10-0 run ignited by Payne’s pull-up jumper and a layup by Justin Stanko off a picture-perfect wraparound pass from Alec Goetz.

The North Stars closed out the half with a 16-2 surge and opened a 36-20 halftime advantage. Six different players scored points during the late second-quarter run.

St. Charles North’s reserves outscored Streamwood’s bench 15-2 in the opening half, as Erik Miller and Jake Ludwig each had 5 first-half points.

“I keep talking about how much depth we have and how much trust we have in all of the players on the team,” said Poulin. “In the second half against Bartlett, I should have gone to our bench to re-energize us. I didn’t do it and I regretted it.”

There wasn’t much to regret for the North Stars this time, as Payne and Tony Neari (10 points) tallied 8 points apiece during their 24-12 third-quarter tear.

Ludwig, a sophomore, took advantage of his extra playing time with perfect 3-for-3 shooting in the fourth quarter and joined 4 North Stars players in double figures with 12 points.

“We don’t step off the gas at all,” Ludwig said of the reserves. “We just keep going.”

The North Stars scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter and didn’t allow the Sabres (6-11, 1-5) to make a basket until the final seconds when Phil Lewy connected on a 3-pointer.

“Our defense is our offense,” said Ludwig. “When we play good defense like that, you can see our points come in bunches.”

“I thought we did some things that made them uncomfortable and that led to transitions,” said Poulin.

Stanko added 10 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists for the North Stars, who figure to have a few more feisty practices next week in preparation for Friday’s cross-town clash with St. Charles East.

“We had all 16 guys flying around, playing hard, diving on the floor at practice Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday,” said Payne. “We had energy and that carried over to the game.”

Joel Lightbourne led Streamwood with 8 points.

“It was a good game for 10 minutes,” said Sabres coach Tim Jones. “We were interested for the first quarter and 2 minutes and then everything broke down.”