That was Naperville Central’s challenge Saturday night when they traveled to Yorkville after rolling to a 51-34 win over Naperville North on Friday. It took time for the Redhawks to get going, but a 15-0 run in the second quarter was all they needed for a 61-34 nonconference victory.
“We are really playing well as a team and sharing the ball, and working hard on the defensive end,” Naperville Central coach Pete Kramer said. “We had an emotional win Friday night and came out a little flat, and didn’t do some things little things early on, but we fixed that and went on that big run.”
With Nick Czarnowski scoring seven first-quarter points, the Redhawks (14-5) opened up a 10-2 lead, but when the 6-8 senior went to the bench with some early foul trouble, the Foxes clawed their way back and took an 18-17 lead on a layup by Josh Bondurant with 5:04 to go before halftime.
Central responded, holding the Foxes without a point for more than eight minutes while building up an 18-point advantage at 36-18 until Dakota Gette broke the run with a three-pointer with 4:58 to go in the third.
The Redhawks’ held their opponent to 34 points for the second straight night and eventually allowed just 16 points in the final 21 minutes while holding Yorkville to 22-percent shooting (12-for-55).
“I think giving up just one shot every time down is tough on a team,” Kramer said. “I thought we contested and closed out on shots pretty well.”
A big key was Central’s length, as Czarnowski and frontcourt mate Patrick Maloney had their way down low. Czarnowski fell just short of a triple-double with 22 points, 11 rebounds and nine blocked shots, while Maloney had nine points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
“Defense was huge two nights in a row, and when the defense is like that the offense comes to you,” Czarnowski said. “Pat and I are good at (working together) and everyone out there is unselfish. Everyone was feeling it.”
Gette and Cedric Payne scored 11 points apiece to pace Yorkville.