Naperville North’s defense dominates WW South

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Naperville North wasn’t expecting to totally stop WW South’s offensive attack during Friday’s DuPage Valley Conference game.

But the Huskies held the Tigers scoreless for a stretch of just under 12 minutes, using the drought to turn their five-point halftime lead into a 45-19 advantage at the end of three quarters.

The Huskies eventually cruised to a 60-35 victory on Hall of Fame Night in Naperville.

“We asked them to focus a little bit better and not rush so much and I think they were just rushing too much in the first half,” Huskies coach Jeff Powers said. “Then they really got their arms going defensively.”

Naperville North (12-8, 6-4) led only 17-16 after WW South’s Aidan Hernandez scored with 4:27 remaining in the first half. The Tigers wouldn’t score again, though, until Matt Kienzle (15 points) made a three-pointer with 35 seconds left in the third quarter.

In between that span, the Huskies enjoyed a 25-0 scoring run, including a 20-0 run to begin the second half.

The Huskies made five of their nine three-pointers during that third-quarter run as Jayson Winick (nine points), Chris Gajcak (six points) and Michael Laurenzo (eight points) connected and Jelani McClain Jr. (six points) connected during a back-to-back sequence.

“At practice we work around everyone with the same offense and move people in and out,” Laurenzo said. “It’s very good to keep the team chemistry, and we’re really used to playing with each other and working the ball around.”

It wasn’t just scoring, however, because defense also played a big factor in allowing the Huskies to break open a game that was tight at the midpoint.

“Coach told us that we’d been playing a little flat in the first half and to come out stronger,” Griffin said. “We locked down on defense and started talking more and playing more as a team on defense.”

Anthony Rehayem led Naperville North with 11 points. The Huskies also received great production from its bench (21 points, 12 rebounds) and made 13-of-14 free throws.

Besides Kienzle, only Joe Metzger (four points) and Chris Simpson (seven points) had more than one field goal for the Tigers.

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