Naperville North achieves goal
Naperville North's boys basketball team had the goal of reaching the semifinals of the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic.
Looks like the Huskies need an update.
They now have their sights set on further advancement after the Huskies' 59-56 victory over Lyons Twp. Wednesday in Elmhurst.
Naperville North (8-2) will play De La Salle, which beat the Huskies 81-61 in their season opener, at 5:45 p.m. Thursday with a berth in the title game on the line.
"We're taking it one game at a time because we know we have a big challenge ahead of us," said Huskies senior Matt Stacho, who scored 7 of his team-high 13 points in the fourth quarter. "We're all realizing what we have to do to win. We're all getting mentally focused each day."
A tight game from wire-to-wire boiled down to a tense fourth quarter controlled mostly by the Huskies, who built a 52-45 lead with 4:16 left on Mike Keane's basket. The Lions (2-8) quickly came back by using an 8-2 run to pull within 54-53 with 2:46 left.
Lyons Twp. was effective with a full-court press and half-court trap, converting turnovers into points while rallying. Naperville North, however, figured out the trap just in time to run nearly two minutes off the clock.
Even though the Huskies made only 5 of 8 free throws in the final 29.2 seconds, it was enough to hold off the Lions. Jarryd Heath's 3-pointer made it 57-56 with three seconds left, but the Huskies' David Sinickas nailed a pair of free throws to seal the win.
"We had a scheme for the second half and our kids picked it up and saw where the openings were going to be," Huskies coach Jeff Powers said of the Lions' press and trap. "They disguised it for a while and had us mixed up a lot, and we threw the ball away too many times and turned it over too many times. But once we got it moving a little bit and got it across court, some things opened."
Naperville North again won with balance. Nine players scored, including Sinickas, who had 10 points. Kyle Lindberg scored 9 points and Keane added 8 points.
Matt Robare led Lyons Twp. with 13 points, while Kenneth Smith scored 12 points and Heath had 10 off the bench. After a blistering shooting performance Tuesday, the Lions cooled to 37 percent shooting against the Huskies.
"We didn't make as many shots as we did yesterday," said Lions coach Tom Sloan. "We had some pretty good looks at the basket in the second half and didn't score them."
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