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Basketball wins overtime nail-biter against Wheaton North; Improve to 5-1 on season

Sam Oppenheim and Jacob Cronin

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Mitch Lewis has attracted a lot of attention for his play on the football field this year. Against Wheaton North on Friday night, he turned a lot of heads with his play on the basketball court. Lewis put up 23 points in a thrilling 66-65 overtime victory over Wheaton North. With wins over Metea Valley and Wheaton North, the Naperville North boys basketball team improved to 5-1 and jumped out to 2-0 in conference play.

Strong early performances by senior Winston Elston and sophomore Tom Welch helped the Huskies jump out to a 11-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. Welch and Elston tied for second in scoring for the Huskies behind Lewis, scoring 13 apiece.

“I’ve been trying to start the game more aggressive and it’s been working so far,” said Elston.

At halftime, the Huskies held a 25-21 lead over the Falcons. The third quarter was more of the same, with the Huskies maintaining a sizeable lead over Falcons, yet were still unable to pull away. Going into the fourth quarter, Naperville North led 38-33.

The Huskies extended their five-point lead early in the fourth quarter, and still had a double-digit lead with 4 minutes to go in the game. But the Falcons made a big comeback, thanks in part to the Huskies free throw shooting. Naperville North missed eight free throws in the last five minutes of the 4th quarter. Wheaton North stars Luke Anthony and Rowan McGowen cut the Huskies lead to three with 1:19 to play. Anthony scored 15 of his 27 points after the third quarter. Eventually, the Huskies only held a one-point lead with 22.4 seconds to go. The Huskies made one of two free throws and the Falcons were able to capitalize. With one second to go, Luke Anthony sent the game into overtime with a fancy maneuver between Chris Johnson and Chris Sullivan, banking  a layup off the glass.

“He’s a really good player,” said Lewis when talking about Anthony. “I didn’t guard him but he hit a lot of clutch threes.”

In overtime, the Huskies and the Falcons knew who the ball was going to; Mitch Lewis and Luke Anthony respectively. Both players dominated the overtime, combining for 15 of the 17 total points in OT. The Huskies jumped on top early, and had a two-point lead with 2:14 to go. Wheaton North leapfrogged ahead for the first time since the 1st quarter, but fell behind once again because of Mitch Lewis’ scoring in the paint. In addition, Chris Sullivan had two key steals in the last minute, including picking Luke Anthony’s pocket with less than five seconds to go in the game. After the steal, Sullivan was fouled with 1.4 seconds left by Anthony, resulting in Anthony fouling out and Sullivan getting two free throws. Once again, the Huskies failed to convert their free throws, as Chris Sullivan missed both of his free throw shots and Wheaton North called a timeout. Off of the inbounds, the Falcons was unable to make the half court shot, giving the Huskies the nailbiter victory 66-65.   

Outside of free throws, Head Coach Jeff Powers had mostly positive takeaways from the game.

“We’ll continue to work on our shooting, free throws and help-side defense, but I think we did a really good job,” said Powers.

The team had only one day to prepare for Wheaton North (5-1, 0-2) because of their game against Metea Valley on Wednesday, and played well in a tough road environment.

“It feels really good to come here against a good team and steal a victory from them,” said Powers.

Up next is a home game against Wheaton-Warrenville South on the 13th and an away game at Lake Park on the 16th. The Huskies (5-1, 2-0) hope to remain undefeated in conference play up until the Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament, which begins on December 26th.

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Basketball wins overtime nail-biter against Wheaton North; Improve to 5-1 on season