O’Brien: Winston Elston’s fast hands, Cam Hardy’s hot shooting gives Naperville North the sweep

SHARE O’Brien: Winston Elston’s fast hands, Cam Hardy’s hot shooting gives Naperville North the sweep
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Naperville North’s Winston Elston found himself in a strange position on the key possession of the No. 15 Huskies’ 55-52 win over host Naperville Central on Tuesday.

The 5-8 junior was guarding 6-7 Harrison Hallstrom, the Redhawks’ best post scorer. And Hallstrom had the ball under the basket.

“Chris Johnson yelled switch,” Elston said. “Harry was right there and I thought the only thing I could do was take a charge.”

Instead, Elston was able to strip the ball from Hallstrom with nine seconds to play. Mitch Lewis was fouled on the fast break layup on the other side. He hit both free throws to seal the win.

“I was ready to fall, but then the ball was just right there so I grabbed it,” Elston said. “I like to pride myself on my defense. Big shots are pretty nice but I’ll take defense any day.”

Naperville Central jumped out to an early 12-3 lead. Naperville North managed to tie the score by the middle of the third quarter and things stayed close from then on.

“They came out strong, we were lackadasical in the first half but we stepped up to win the game,” Huskies junior Cam Hardy said. “It’s amazing, beating Central twice is such a good feeling.”

Hardy’s hot shooting in the second quarter was one of the keys to the victory. He drained four consecutive three pointers.

“It was just a matter of me doing anything I could to help the team, knocking down big shots when we needed them,” Hardy said.

Hardy and Mitch Lewis each scored 18 points. The Redhawks (14-10, 8-6 DuPage Valley) led 52-49 with 1:07 to play. Lewis scored the final six points of the game. The 6-6 junior is a difficult matchup. He’s able to get into the lane and knock down a midrange jumper with ease, which is a rare skill for a tall high school player.

“[Lewis] doesn’t force too many things, he lets the game come to him,” Naperville North coach Jeff Powers said. “He just made some unbelievable shots and good passes too.”

Naperville North (20-4, 13-1) has been a surprise this season and the future is very bright. The Huskies start three juniors and a sophomore. They will be in the mix for the top seed in the East Aurora sectional and seem guaranteed a top four seed.

Sophomore Benjamin Wolf stepped up and played key minutes for Naperville Central while Hallstrom was on the bench in foul trouble. The 6-7 center scored five points and grabbed five rebounds.

“I’m really proud of our guys, how we stayed with it after a lackluster first quarter,” Powers said. “Cam hit a bunch of three’s, Mitch got going and we started playing better defense. Our kids willed this out and that was neat to see.”

Matthew Meier led Naperville Central with 19 points and Hallstrom finished with 10.

“[Naperville Central coach Pete Kramer] had a great game plan,” Powers said. “They slowed the temp down and they let Matt Meier go to work, he’s just one heck of a basketball player.”

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