ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles North boys basketball team needed its 1-2 punch to overcome a 15-point halftime deficit and beat Elgin, 49-46, on Tuesday in an Upstate Eight Conference River Division game.
Alec Goetz, uniform No. 1 and Jake Ludwig, No. 2, combined for 28 second-half points to spark the comeback.
North’s defense also improved in the final two quarters. The Maroons attempted one free throw in the third quarter and scored their first basket of the second half two minutes into the fourth quarter.
In the first half, the North Stars (14-7, 8-3 UEC River) couldn’t solve Elgin’s zone defense. As a result, North was unable to score inside and committed 13 turnovers.
“I don’t believe it was anything I said at halftime,” North coach Tom Poulin said. “They just decided to compete in the second half defensively. [In the first half] we were just going through the motions defensively and allowed Elgin to score and get open looks. They scored, which allowed them to set up their zone.”
North took a brief lead, 3-2, early in the first quarter on Goetz’s first three points of the night. The senior guard scored a game-high 27 points.
A Ryan Sitter layup returned the lead to the Maroons, who led, 17-10, at the end of the first quarter.
Elgin (7-15, 3-7 UEC River) limited the North Stars to two baskets in the second quarter and held a 30-15 lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, a re-energized North went on a 17-1 run to retake the lead. Goetz scored 13 points and the North Stars forced 11 turnovers in the period.
Goetz scored the go-ahead layup on a steal at the end of the quarter, giving his team a 32-31 lead to start the fourth quarter
“In the second half, we started punching gaps,” Poulin said. “We started playing inside-out which helped, and then the biggest difference was we got really active and picked up the intensity on defense, which led to offense. Alec was the benefactor of everyone picking it up defensively.”
“We came out so flat in the first half,” said Goetz. “We realized at halftime that it’s senior year and we don’t get many more chances. We came out collectively in the second half and played harder.”
Elgin tied the game, 35-all at the 5:12 mark of the fourth quarter on a Kiko Mari basket.
On the North Stars’ next possession, Goetz was fouled attempting a 3-point shot. The senior guard connected on all three free throws to put North back on top, 38-35.
Elgin pulled within a point, 47-46 on a Donte Harper layup with less than a minute left to play.
Two free throws by Ludwig (12 points) with 17 seconds left to play widened North’s lead to 49-46.
With no timeouts left, Elgin could not stop the clock to set up a play and was unable to get off a tying shot.
Desmond Sanders scored a team-high 14 points for Elgin.