It was apparent from the opening tip that Naperville Central juniorMatthew Meier was going to log some serious mileage in the 32 minutesof the Redhawks’ game against host Oswego at the Hoops for HealingTournament on Wednesday.
The 6-2 guard was a bundle of energy, racing around the court lookingfor any and every opportunity to score, whether he had the ball ornot.
“He’s always like that,” said Naperville Central senior Nate Dahl.“Before practice he’ll just be bouncing around in the hallway.”
The Redhawks needed every bit of Meier’s energy to knock off Oswego49-45. They were without two starters, Alex Pomeroy (broke team rule)and Harrison Hallstrom (injury). Meier and Dahl were the only twoscorers left in the lineup.
“They were front guarding both of us for most of the second half,”said Dahl. “It’s a good thing (Meier) has so much energy, we neededit.”
Meier, who played varsity last year as a sophomore, scored acareer-high 25 points, shooting 7-for-13 from the field. He was ableto get to the free throw line with ease, shooting 10-for-11 from thestripe. His two free throws with nine seconds to play sealed the win.
Dahl, Naperville Central’s leading scorer, took less chances with hisoffensive game but still managed 20 points. The only other player toscore for the Redhawks (2-1) was Immanual Rugamba, who added fourpoints.
“We really missed Hallstrom,” said Dahl. “A lot of our offense usuallyruns through him.”
Without Hallstrom things fell to Meier, who was up for the challenge.
“You have to be confident, you have to come out and play confident orthere is no point in being out there,” said Meier.
Zach West led Oswego (1-2) with 21 points and Malique Ross addedeight. The Panthers had taken care of the ball well the entire game,only committing four turnovers until a crucial giveaway with 44seconds to play gave Naperville Central a chance to take the lead.
Dahl capitalized immediately, draining a three with 36 seconds left togive the Redhawks the lead for good at 47-45.
“I’m so proud of the way this group played after losing two startersso early in the season,” said Naperville Central coach Pete Kramer.
“It’s fun to come together and get a win like that.”