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Steady bench lifts North boys hoops past Streamwood

ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles North boys basketball team got a huge shot in the arm from its bench Saturday and turned it into a 73-38 victory against Streamwood in Upstate Eight Conference River Division action.

Led by sophomore reserves Jake Ludwig and Jack Callaghan, as well as senior bench player Ryan Thomas, the North Stars (10-6, 4-2 UEC River) outscored the Sabres (6-11, 1-5), 20-6, during the second quarter.

The run swelled a 16-14 lead into a 36-20 advantage.

Ludwig scored five points, Callaghan three and Thomas two during the quarter. And in the first quarter, junior Erik Miller came off the bench to score five points.

“This was a good game for us to break out because we want to start peaking for the state tournament,” Ludwig said. “We technically have a first and second team, but we all play together.

“It is a competition in practice each day. We are all practicing hard to get better and earn more minutes."

North coach Tom Poulin said the lift from the bench was huge, especially after he pointed the finger at himself for how the unit was used during Tuesday's loss at Bartlett.

"I keep talking about how much depth we have, but in the second half against Bartlett, I should have gone to our bench to re-energize us," Poulin said. "I didn’t do that, and I regretted it.

"[The reserves] want their minutes. They are told when they get on the floor to make the most of it, impact the game in a positive way. This week in practice, it was whoever gets out there and competes is going to be rewarded with playing time. Those guys were rewarded with playing time and they made the most of it."
The North Stars’ starters made sure they made their presence felt in the third quarter, as Tony Neari scored nine, Quinten Payne eight and Alec Goetz five during a 24-12 quarter that increased the lead to 60-32 heading to the fourth.

"Guys off the bench stepped up, and that is what we needed," Payne said. "We were missing some shots early. They came out with great energy and built us a big lead. Then the starters continued that in the third quarter."

Payne led all scorers with 19 points. Ludwig had 12, Neari 11 and Justin Stanko 10.

"It was a bad loss to Bartlett Tuesday. We shouldn’t have lost that game," Payne said. "On Tuesday, all the guys in the locker room said we had to come out in practice with a ton of energy.

"All 16 guys were [practicing hard], diving. We did a great job of having energy Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.”

Joel Lightbourne led Streamwood with eight points.

“The first10 minutes were good, that’s all there is to say,” said Streamwood coach Tim Jones.

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