The first time Naperville Central's boys basketball team faced Glenbard East, the Redhawks didn't look like they belonged on the same court.
In Friday night's rematch, Naperville Central looked like a champion.
There's still a bunch of work to do, but the Redhawks put themselves back in play for the DuPage Valley Conference title by handing Glenbard East its first league loss. With Friday's 68-47 win over the visiting Rams, Naperville Central sits a game out of first place in the DVC behind Glenbard East and West Aurora.
"We didn't come to that game prepared," Redhawks junior guard Ryan Antony said of his team's 59-41 loss to Glenbard East on Nov. 30. "We thought it'd be easy, but it's always tough in the DVC to win on the road. We were excited to get another shot at them at home. We just came out ready to play."
Starting midway through the second quarter, the Redhawks (13-6, 6-2) took the lead and kept it. A pair of Antony free throws with under two minutes to play in the third quarter made it a 40-30 game, and Naperville Central appeared ready to pull away.
Glenbard East (12-6, 7-1) made its move, however, scoring the quarter's final 6 points and then starting the fourth quarter with a bucket by Tahron Harvey to narrow the margin to 40-38.
A pair of giant Antony 3-pointers, sandwiched around a basket by the Rams' Mike Kjeldsen, put Naperville Central back on track and up by 6. Antony's second 3-pointer sparked a 19-2 run that put the outcome to rest.
"You've got to start off by giving Naperville Central a lot of credit, especially after the way we handled them at our place," said Rams coach Scott Miller. "They executed in every phase of the game. We executed at times, but then at times defensively and offensively we unraveled."
Naperville Central surged to its double-digit lead behind a rash of Glenbard East turnovers: 6 in the second quarter and 15 for the game. The Redhawks executed extremely well by committing only 8 turnovers and making 23 of 25 free-throw attempts.
Four double-figure scorers were paced by Antony's 17 points. Nick Czarnowski scored 15, Mike Blaszczyk 13 points and Nicky Lopez 12 points.
Harvey led the Rams with 14 points while Kjeldsen and JaRon Hall tallied 10 points apiece.
"We were very prepared for this game," said Redhawks coach Pete Kramer. "It was a good win, especially after the first time we played them."
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