ST. CHARLES – Playing against a talented opponent in the championship game of St. Charles East’s Ron Johnson Thanksgiving Tournament Saturday night, the St. Charles North boys basketball team was going to need more than one player to step up and have an outstanding game.
Unfortunately for the North Stars (3-1), that didn’t really happen.
North junior Jake Ludwig did all he could to keep his team in the game, scoring 28 points, grabbing five rebounds, and coming up with four steals, but that wasn’t enough to prevent St. Joseph from claiming a 58-49 victory.
“They’re long and athletic,” Ludwig said of the Chargers. “We tried to force some things and they’re good defenders. We didn’t get some calls here and there.”
The North Stars did a good job controlling the tempo of the game for much of the contest, and when Ludwig hit a 3-pointer from the left wing midway through the third quarter, North trailed by just 1, 33-32. St. Joseph junior Glynn Watson (18 points) answered with a trey just 18 seconds later, starting a 13-2 run by the Chargers (4-0).
“You make a couple poor decisions or miss a couple shots and it goes from three points to 10 points,” North coach Tom Poulin said. “I just thought we didn’t shoot the ball very well. Everyone kind of had a poor quarter or a poor half from the floor. Every team did in the tournament. Ours came in the first half.”
The score was tied at 6 early, but then the North Stars went cold. Jordan Ash connected from beyond the arc at the start of the second quarter to give St. Joseph an 18-8 lead. Ash scored 13 points and snared 10 rebounds and was named the tournament MVP.
“We felt that we needed to up-tempo it,” St. Joseph coach Gene Pingatore said. “We were getting boards and running the ball down the floor. That opened everything up.”
The Chargers held a commanding edge on the glass for most of the game, though North wound up closing the rebounding gap to 32-26 by the end of the night. Jack Callaghan, a 6-3 junior, did a nice job on the boards for the North Stars, securing eight rebounds.
The biggest problem for North, though, was not having an offensive threat other than Ludwig.
“Throughout the tournament, we’ve had four guys near double figures each game,” Poulin noted. “Tonight, we just had one. You can’t do that against St. Joe’s.”
Senior guard Alec Goetz scored seven points for the North Stars and was named to the all-tournament team along with Ludwig.
“I think we can take away a lot from this tournament,” Ludwig said. “We learned a lot about ourselves. I think this made us more excited for the season because we had a good week coming up to this game.”
In the fifth-place game earlier in the day, the host Saints (2-2) edged Downers Grove South, 74-72. Senior guard Dom Adduci had the hot hand for East, scoring 29 points. James McQuillan, a 6-4 sophomore, added 11 points. Danny Spinuzza paced the Mustangs (1-3) with 25 points.
Plainfield East (3-1) cruised past Schaumburg (2-2) in the third-place game, 55-37.