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Huskies hit 13th victory in a row, longest streak of Powers time at NN

Head+Coach+Jeff+Powers+and+the+Naperville+North+boys+basketball+team+get+fired+up+during+their+66-38+win+over+Neuqua+Valley
Head Coach Jeff Powers and the Naperville North boys basketball team get fired up during their 66-38 win over Neuqua Valley

Head Coach Jeff Powers and the Naperville North boys basketball team get fired up during their 66-38 win over Neuqua Valley

Jacob de Waard

Jacob de Waard

Head Coach Jeff Powers and the Naperville North boys basketball team get fired up during their 66-38 win over Neuqua Valley

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It turns out that 13 can be lucky. The Naperville North boys basketball team extended their winning streak to 13 games after a 66-38 blowout victory over Neuqua Valley on Friday. The winning streak is the longest of Head Coach Jeff Powers’s tenure at Naperville North.

“Today was pretty special because our defense was stellar and Chris Johnson was just an animal offensively and defensively,” said Powers. “We shared the ball, hit some timely threes and the guys are understanding their roles.”

The Huskies took an early lead, ending the first quarter already up 21-7. From there, the Huskies maintained a steady double-digit lead over the course of the game. Blaise Meredith had a strong effort for Neuqua Valley (11-14, 4-9), scoring 19 of his team’s 38 points, but lacked help from his teammates.

“It’s one game at a time,” said an unfazed Powers. “The momentum is good, and we are playing well and practicing well.”

Taking it one game at a time has worked out well for the Huskies, having won every matchup since their third game in the Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament on Dec. 28. A big part of the winning streak has been the play of senior point guard Youcef Merabet, who lead the team in scoring against Neuqua with 14 points. Merabet talked about his progression from the bench to having an integral role on the team.

“I just knew I had to become a leader when I was not really getting the minutes I wanted,” said Merabet. “I just had to stay positive and make my teammates better.”

Since the Jan. 20 game against Waubonsie Valley, Merabet has either the led the Huskies or been in double-digits for scoring in five of the past nine games. After Chris Sullivan went down in the game against the then-number two Evanston Wildkits, Merabet scored 20 points in a comeback victory. His point guard play and scoring ability have proven the depth of this year’s team.

“Our whole team can shoot,” said senior power forward Scott Smith.

Smith had seven points, including a three-pointer that made the bench and the Dawg Pound go crazy. Powers was able to empty his bench midway through the fourth quarter and get backups some minutes. Unfortunately for the Huskies, the Tigers of Wheaton-Warrenville South clinched at least a share of the DVC title and maintained their unbeaten conference record. Currently sitting at 25-1 overall and 14-0 in the DVC, all the Tigers need is a victory over Metea Valley on Tuesday to win the title outright. The Huskies are unlikely to repeat as conference champions this year.

Up next for Naperville North (19-4, 11-2) is crosstown rival Naperville Central. The Huskies look to sweep the season series after beating the Redhawks earlier in the year 40-31. The home game starts at 7:30 and can be seen on the High School Cube.

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Huskies hit 13th victory in a row, longest streak of Powers time at NN