Huskie boys basketball ends season in IHSA Regional final against Naperville Central

Megan Cablk and Katie de Waard

The Naperville North Huskies boys basketball team battled to the end against crosstown rival Naperville Central in the IHSA Regional final, but were unable to come out on top and continue their season. 

The Naperville North Huskies (15-16, 2-7) fell to the Naperville Central Redhawks (21-10, 6-4) by a final score of 45-32. 

The Redhawks came out firing from the start and the Huskies saw themselves down 14-8 at the end of the first quarter. In the first play of the second quarter, a dunk from junior Grant Johnson gave the Huskies the momentum they needed to get within one point at halftime. The second half saw a return of Redhawk fervor, but despite a strong defensive showing led by senior Myles Barry, the Huskies struggled shooting from behind the three-point line and failed to make up the point deficit. Head Coach Gene Nolan admired the fight and relentless energy that his team showed in their final game.

“I thought our kids played a great game,” Nolan said. “On nights like tonight I feel for our kids that we couldn’t get the win, but I’m incredibly proud of them.”

The Huskies valued both the chance to play their rival and the support they were able to bring from across town. The atmosphere was electric from both Huskie and Redhawk fans, and the players were able to channel that energy into their performance. 

“The whole atmosphere was a once-in-a-lifetime thing for a regional championship,” Johnson said. “I could spend our last game with all of the guys that have been there since day one both on the court and in the stands.” 

At the end of the season, the team was proud of the effort and grit they have shown throughout the season to get to the Regional final. The coaching staff and the players alike will miss the bond that the team has shared for the last few months.

“They were resilient. They were tough. They were fun to coach,” Nolan said. “The hardest part of this isn’t that we didn’t win our Regional, it’s that we can’t come back to practice tomorrow, but I’m incredibly proud of this group.”

Zea Karmadi contributed to this story.