Outmanned Naperville North falls to Oswego East

Like it has done all season, Naperville North didn’t allow adversity to defeat its spirit.

The host Wolves were just too talented for the undermanned Huskies, ending their season with a 55-35 victory during Wednesday’s Class 4A Oswego East regional semifinal

Oswego East (21-10) never trailed and advanced to play Benet in Friday’s championship game.

The Wolves jumped out to a 7-0 lead as the Huskies didn’t get on the scoreboard until Bryce Welch’s long jumper with 3:22 left in the first quarter.

His 3-pointer to open the second quarter got them to within 11-7, but they’d never be closer, except as a team.

Those kids got going when the going got tough. Like when they lost Luke Williams for the season.

“We just are feeding off of each other and just being together. We’re just like a family,” Williams said. “We feed off of each other to make sure everybody is OK so when that time does come (like when he got hurt) it’s time for somebody to step up and when that person does step up they bring energy with it. And we’re behind them trying to lead them to where that player was or just getting everybody involved.”

Welch led the Huskies with 15 points, Cole Arl had 8 points and another senior, Jack Kallstrand, had 6 points, but the biggest number of the night for the Huskies was 13, as in 12 senior players and one senior team manager.

“We’re all friends so it’s just us talking together and being at school and being able to hang out with your friends,” Williams said. “These are guys who have been together since seventh grade. They are some of my best friends so we’ve been together for a long time which is just really great.”

Naperville North (13-17) was within 31-22 after Arl’s offensive rebound and basket with 2:34 left in the third quarter.

After a dunk by Wolves senior Noah Mason with 5:29 left to play, though, they were down 42-25. The season was running out.

“Really, really proud of our group of kids,” Redhawks coach Gene Nolan said. “I’m not sure I’ve been around a group that dealt with more challenging times, but that’s life and I’m just so proud of our team and the way they always stuck together. Never gave up.”

A season with huge wins outside the standings.

“I had so much fun coaching this group when it could’ve been the opposite,” Nolan said. “But their approach daily was inspiring. The collected effort is what it means to be a Naperville North basketball player and the teamwork involved with that. These are non-disposable skills that they’re learning for the rest of their life. When something is difficult they learned this year and showed it this year to a degree I’ve never seen before with what it means to stick together and and keep working, and I’m really, really proud of them for that.”

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