Naperville Norths boys basketball team socked West Aurora right on the Chin.
Naperville Norths Chin offense, a spread set run by Northwestern, combined with a halftime switch from zone to man-to-man defense to create a 22-2 second-half run and deliver host West Aurora a 62-60 DuPage Valley Conference loss.
I was so happy for these kids because theyve been so close, said Naperville North coach Jeff Powers, whose Huskies (18-7, 8-4) lost by 12 points to West Aurora on Jan. 5. We beat York, a great team, but this is a great team, too, and this is pretty special for our kids.
West Aurora (19-5, 10-2) fell a game behind 11-1 Glenbard East, each with two DVC games left, including their final showdown Wednesday in Aurora. Conference ramifications were not on Blackhawks coach Gordie Kerkmans mind.
Its the way we played, he said.
They played the kind of game that I would have liked to play, Kerkman added. They moved the ball, they were very patient offensively. If they didnt get a good shot they got to the foul line. We were playing just the opposite. We were in a hurry.
Jontrel Walker scored 9 of his game-high 22 points in the first quarter, and twins Chandler and Spencer Thomas were their scrappy selves in leading West Aurora to leads of 16-10 after a quarter and 34-26 at halftime.
Yet foul trouble that had center Josh McAuley inactive long periods affected continuity. He fouled out with 5:41 left to play, one of five players to foul out in a game featuring 64 free-throw attempts.
Naperville North trailed 39-30 when it closed the third quarter on a 10-0 run to take its first lead since 3-2.
When we switched to man (defense) we really buckled down on everyone. We had great block-outs from our big guys, said Huskies senior guard Bryan LoLordo, who scored a team-high 20 points, 12 of 12 on free throws. Naperville North made 27 of 30 free throws on the night and 16 of 27 from the floor.
LoLordo and freshman Jelani McClain Jr. paced a 12-2 run to open the fourth quarter. McClain Jr. fouled out both McAuley and backup Matt Williams on a pair of three-point plays.
McAuley, hes a great shot-blocker, so head-fake him, get him in the air, hes going for it. And then, hopefully, knock down a three-point play, said McClain Jr., who scored 15.
In the last 3:15 West Aurora intensity cut a 57-45 deficit to 62-58 with 24 seconds left, then mustered only Spencer Thomas putback at the buzzer.
If wed have played that way the whole ballgame and played a little smarter we wouldnt have had to play that hard the last four, five minutes, Kerkman said.
I think our Chin offense in the third and fourth quarter made them spread out and that gave us some nice opportunities to drive, Powers said. But our defense won this game tonight.