MAPLE PARK – Boys basketball fans were treated to two games where the winner's final score reached the 80s at Kaneland’s inaugural Day and Knight of Hoops on Saturday.
St. Charles North opened the varsity segment of the event with an 87-66 victory against Peoria Richwoods while Kaneland dropped the closing game, 81-60, to Hillcrest.
In between was a 79-76 Larkin victory against North Chicago.
The opening outburst – North's highest output of the season – was especially gratifying to North Strs coach Tom Poulin.
“I can’t remember the last time we ever scored 87. I’ll have to look," Poulin said. "We played Mundelein at Jacobs once and that was in the 90s. That's the last game I remember.”
Poulin credited team play for the lopsided win.
“They were playing just as hard as they could defensively and playing together offensively and sharing the basketball,” Poulin said. “They didn’t care who scored tonight. They just wanted St. Charles North to score and when they do that, I think we are as good as anybody.”
Four North Stars scored in double figures: Jake Ludwig had a game-high 19, while Jack Callaghan (18), Alec Goetz (17) and Garrett Johnson (12) followed.
“The key tonight for us was rebounding, holding them to one shot and then getting a high-percentage shot because that will allow us to get back and set up our zone,” Poulin said. “We want to play up and down offensively but don’t want them to.”
“All week, we focused on boxing out so that led to us getting the rebounds,” said Johnson, who snagged 12 rebounds. Richwoods (13-11) stayed close to North throughout the first half of the game, trailing, 42-34, at the break.
The North Stars (15-7) put the game away in the third quarter.
Richwoods pulled within six points at 47-41 at the 5:28 mark in the third quarter with a Kaelen Johnson layup. The sophomore scored a team high 17 points. North responded with a 23-5 run to close out the quarter. Ludwig scored 11 of those points on five baskets in a row.
“We played a solid three quarters but the middle of that third quarter killed us,” Richwoods coach William Smith said. “We know we couldn’t sustain their pace and that’s what got us.”
In the nightcap, Kaneland (13-8) scored the first basket of its game against Hillcrest (17-6) on a John Pruett jumper. The Knights held the lead for the first five minutes of the first quarter until a George McDaniel free throw tied the score at 10-all with three minutes left in the period. The Hawks finished the quarter with a 7-2 run to lead, 17-12.
The Knights pulled within two points late in the second quarter on a Dylan Vaca layup, his first two of 12 points. However, Hillcrest responded with another run to hold a 39-31 advantage at halftime.
The Hawks, with 6-foot-8 Taylor Adway and 6-5 DeAngleo Isby, used their height advantage to control the boards. Hillcrest outrebounded Kaneland 34-20. Isby led all scorers with 22 points while Adway contributed 14.
“We really got outmuscled on the glass,” Kaneland coach Brian Johnson said. “When you play a team that's a lot more athletic than you are and a lot taller, you've got to do the little things right. We didn’t do the little things right. We didn’t box out at all and they just dominated on the glass.”
“We just came off an emotional win last night (beating Oak Lawn to win the South Suburban Conference title) and for us to come out tonight and still keep our composure and played hard, I was proud of that,” said Hillcrest coach Don Houston.
Pruett was the top Kaneland scorer with 19 points. Ty Carlson chipped in 13.