Naperville North picks up huge win against rival Naperville Central

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Adam Oppenheim and Maggie Berry

The Naperville North boys varsity basketball team picked up a big win at home against their crosstown rival, the Naperville Central Redhawks. 

 

The Naperville North Huskies (2-3, 1-1) defeated the Naperville Central Redhawks (1-3, 1-2) by a score of 57-49.

 

Early in the first half, the Huskies struggled defensively leaving the Redhawks open from behind the arc. Although they didn’t play a great first half, they were only down by one point going into halftime. After halftime, the Huskies played stronger on the defensive end. As the defensive effort improved, the Huskies forced Redhawk turnovers and were able to convert on the offensive end, dominating in transition. The Huskies also rebounded the ball well, not allowing many second chance looks for the Redhawks. Senior Grant Johnson had a big 11 points, but the halftime shift in energy is what put the Huskies on top.

 

“I think there were a lot of adjustments we had to make in the first half mainly like our press break, because they were getting a lot of three-pointers in the corner, so we had to prepare for that in the second half,” Johnson said. 

 

Although the Huskies were in the lead most of the second half, the Redhawks continued to hang around due to juniors James Jopes and Jonah Hinton hitting big three-point shots. As the Huskies started to pull away at the end of the game, Liam Kim credits his team for continuing to give it their all to prevent a Redhawk comeback.

 

“We definitely wanted to make sure we extended the lead so it was important that we didn’t let up easy bucks even after we were up,” Kim said.

 

Although it wasn’t a perfect game at the beginning for the Huskies, Head Coach Gene Nolan is happy with the effort his team showed, especially in the way they turned it around in the second half. He also credits freshman Luke Williams for giving them a lift off the bench. 

 

“Luke’s a great kid, an athletic kid who plays really hard and most importantly he has really fit in with all of the older guys and our older guys have been terrific in welcoming Luke as a freshman on the North team,” Nolan said.

 

Nolan was also pleased with his team’s performance because of the way they grinded out a tough win against their crosstown rival.

 

“I’m proud of our kids. I’m happy for them to be able to beat such a quality team like Naperville Central,” Nolan said.

 

The Huskies will continue their season on Saturday, Feb. 20 against Benet at home. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 2:30 P.M.