Schauer leads Wheaton North past St. Charles East in defensive battle

Caleb Schauer doesn't seem to mind the soreness if it means he's back on the basketball floor with the team he loves.

Schauer, the Wheaton North senior, is back healthy after suffering a torn right ACL last January. Now 10 months removed from surgery, Schauer is playing his part for a gritty, defensive-minded Falcons' team.

He's loving every second of it.

" ... It's really fun to be back. I love this group of guys. This is a really fun team," Schauer said following Wheaton North's 39-30 DuKane Conference win over St. Charles East on Wednesday. "This is the most fun I've had playing basketball, honestly. It's been great to be back and playing."

Schauer wears a protective brace when he plays, but he's still able to glide around and do what he can to affect the game in multiple ways. At the forefront, is a tough-nosed defense that forced 23 Saints turnovers on the night.

"Totally. All 16 guys [embrace a sticky defensive mentality]," Schauer said. "Even the guys on the bench who don't play, when everyone is in the game and clapping and we're all loud."

Schauer finished with six points and two rebounds for Wheaton North.

"He's super smart defensively," Wheaton North coach Dave Brackman said. "Coming back from the knee, he's not, I'd say, 100% as far as his quickness, but he's so smart and knows where to be. The guy does a great job being a leader on the offensive end and leader overall, so we really missed him last year and I'm so happy for him being back."

The Saints (3-4, 0-2) and Falcons (5-2, 2-0) tussled through a slower-paced offensive performance. Both teams combined for 15 points in the first quarter and the Falcons led 18-13 at the half.

Wheaton North led 22-15 with 6:16 left in the third quarter, and an 8-0 run by the Saints was exactly what they needed to start breaking through. The run was powered by layups from Brad Monkemeyer, Sam Tisch and Marco Klebosits.

The Falcons answered back with Ben Gillmar splitting two free throws and a Schauer layup. Hudson Parker (eight points) added a layup for Wheaton North for the 27-24 lead to close the third quarter.

Monkemeyer made a layup for the Saints in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, but Wheaton North's Connor Speers (seven points) hit a 3-pointer, which started a small run for the Falcons. Wheaton North finished 9 of 14 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter alone to close out a slow finish from the field for the 39-30 victory.

"The effort was there. [We] played hard for 32 minutes and we just talked: They put up 16 points from the free-throw line [on the game]," Saints coach Rob Klemm said. "I know we were fouling them late, but to hold a quality team like Wheaton North to 39 points, very proud of the defensive effort."

The Saints were paced by seven points from Tisch, while Monkemeyer and Klebosits each had four points

"There were costly turnovers. We had 23 and 17 in the second half," Klemm continued. " ... Control the things we can control. That's something we talk about all the time. We're controlling a lot of the things we can control ... Just come back, watch film and learn from it."

  St. Charles East's Gavin Szerlong (10) is fouled by Wheaton North's Printess Wynn (5) during Wednesday's boys basketball game in St. Charles. Szerlong made the basket and the extra point foul shot. Paul Valade/
  St. Charles East's Jacob Vrankovich (21) takes a shot over Wheaton North's Ben Gillmar during Wednesday's boys basketball game in St. Charles. Paul Valade/
  St. Charles East's Jake Greenspan (1) drives past Wheaton North's Caleb Schauer during Wednesday's boys basketball game in St. Charles. Paul Valade/
  Wheaton North's Connor Speers attempts a shot between St. Charles East's Brad Monkemeyer (32) and Marco Klebosits (3) during Wednesday's boys basketball game in St. Charles. Paul Valade/
  Wheaton North's Jack Speers (3) pulls down a rebound during Wednesday's boys basketball game against St. Charles East in St. Charles. Paul Valade/
  Wheaton North's Hudson Parker, left, heads to the basket under pressure from St. Charles East's Jake Greenspan during Wednesday's game in St. Charles. Paul Valade/
  St. Charles East's Matt Steinberg (23) has his shot blocked by Wheaton North's Matthew Beamer during Wednesday's boys basketball game in St. Charles. Paul Valade/
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