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NN looks ahead to playoffs after regular season, 15 game win streak comes to a close

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The common adage, “slow and steady wins the race”, is often applied to cross country or track and field. Yet the same famous line from Aesop’s fable about the tortoise and the hare could be applied to the Wednesday night boys basketball game between Naperville North and the Wheaton-Warrenville South Tigers. A slow-paced game resulted in a 38-35 victory for the Tigers and a sad end to the Huskies’ 15 game winning streak.

“They held the ball the whole time so we did not get many offensive shots,” said senior guard Mitch Lewis, who led Naperville North with 15 points.

Early on, both teams struggled to score, with the first points of the game coming five minutes into the first quarter. Eventually, the scoring opened up and the Tigers led 10-7 at the end of the first quarter.  

The second quarter provided more of the same, with both teams scoring nine points each, keeping the Tigers ahead 19-16.

In the second half, the Huskies were unable to get over the hump. Every time the Huskies scored, the Tigers always seemed to have an answer. Wheaton-Warrenville South finished the third quarter up 29-25.

Naperville North came out strong to start the fourth quarter, tying it up at 29 with exactly five minutes to play. From there the Huskies kept it close, but were down one with 33.4 seconds to play, thanks to a big three from senior guard Youcef Merabet. The Huskies fouled Tigers guard Jake Healy, who coolly knocked down both free throws, and extended their lead back up to three. In the final seconds, Merabet’s three was no good and the Huskies’ winning streak came to a halt.

The Huskies lacked scoring from multiple players, which tends to be a strength for them. Mitch Lewis was the only player in double-figures for the Huskies. Coach Jeff Powers talked about the struggles offensively.

“Defensively, we played outstanding,” said Powers. “They hit a couple threes that got them going at critical times and we missed a couple threes.”

This game was quite similar to the earlier matchup between these two teams, with Wheaton-Warrenville South coming out on top 43-42 back on Dec. 13. The stingy defense and the painfully slow offensive tendencies of the Tigers have resulted in opponents scoring infrequently. On the season, they are allowing 38.8 points per game and have given up less than 30 points in seven games this year. In comparison, the Huskies gave up an average of 47.9 points per game and have not held an opponent to under 30 points.

Wheaton-Warrenville South (27-1, 16-0) has had an incredible year, winning the MLK tournament and going unbeaten in conference to win the DVC. The Tigers grabbed the number one seed in the Hinsdale Central Sectional and await the winner of West Chicago and Glenbard West.

Naperville North (21-5, 13-3) was unable to repeat as conference champs in the 2016-17 campaign. They earned the number four seed in the Hinsdale Central Sectional and await the winner of Batavia and Metea Valley, the latter a team they beat twice in the regular season.

“The last time we had this feeling was 15 games ago,” said Powers. “Hopefully it will be 15 more games before we get this feeling again.”

As March nears, let the madness begin in the IHSA basketball playoffs.

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1 Comment

One Response to “NN looks ahead to playoffs after regular season, 15 game win streak comes to a close”

  1. Mort schreiber on February 27th, 2017 11:05 am

    Good luck to the huskies in the playoffs . Thank you for your mail.
    Mort

    [Reply]

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NN looks ahead to playoffs after regular season, 15 game win streak comes to a close