ST. CHARLES – A strong defensive effort by the St. Charles North boys basketball team netted a 67-36 win over Upstate Eight Conference River Division rival Elgin Saturday night.
The North Stars (6-3, 3-1 UEC River) controlled the glass, outrebounding the Maroons, 37-18.
Elgin (5-5, 1-3) was held to two field goals per a quarter after the opening frame.
“That was our best effort [of the season] defensively. This game was the best proof of what we have been preaching actually works,” North coach Tom Poulin said. “If we play defense like that and commit ourselves on the defensive end and on the glass, we can play with anybody. You can have an off night offensively and still get a win by defending and rebounding.”
The North Stars raced out to a 9-0 lead before Elgin’s Arie Williams drained a three pointer midway through the first quarter. The trey was the start of a 12-3 Maroons run that gave them a 12-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The North Stars regained the lead at the start of the second quarter on a Quinten Payne layup and never looked back. Elgin was unable to score a point until halfway through the period on another Willams’ layup.
North’s ability to hold Williams, Elgin’s top scorer, to only 12 points was another contributing factor to its victory.
“We knew he was definitely their dominant player,” said North’s Justin Stanko. “We were trying to shut him down because if we shut him down we shut the team down.”
Also, Williams drew his third foul with 3:16 left to go in the second quarter and was on the bench for the rest of the frame.
“He started to heat up and got into foul trouble and that completely changed the game, I thought,” Poulin said.
The North Stars led, 30-18, at the half and widened their lead to 41-23 at the end of the third quarter.
“The biggest game-changer was if we shot a three and got an extra rebound they have to defend for an extra 30 seconds and we get twice as many possessions as them,” said Payne, who had a game-high 21 points. “I thought a huge part of it was getting the offensive rebounds and getting the defensive rebounds so they can’t get extra possessions.”
Alec Goetz scored 12 points for the North Stars, all on three-pointers.
Starter Tony Neari and reserve Chris Preocanin both tallied seven points for North.
“Chris is giving everything he has when he goes in there and that’s what we want,” said Poulin of the 6-foot-7 senior. “We feel like he makes us so much stronger and he can really impact the game.”
Tanner Bednar scored seven points for Elgin.