There isn’t a hotter rivalry in the area right now than Wheaton-Warrenville South vs. Naperville North.
The No. 12 Huskies knocked off the Tigers in the sectional finals last year using an intentional foul strategy. That infuriated the Wheaton-Warrenville South, but its incredibly slow-paced, ball control offense infuriates opponents on a regular basis.
Just read to what Naperville North junior Tom Welch has to say about Wheaton-Warrenville South’s style.
“This isn’t basketball,” Welch said. “They don’t play basketball. They hold it and it is a whole different game when you play these guys. That is why no one likes playing them. They just don’t have a fun culture.”
The Huskies beat the visiting Tigers 37-35 in double-overtime on Wednesday.
“It feels awesome,” Welch said. “We haven’t beaten them in two years playing normally. We beat them last year in the sectional finals using our scheme. To beat them at our place, playing real basketball is a great feeling.”
Naperville North senior Jack Hill was the hero, converting the game-winning four-point play with 1:33 to play in the second overtime. Hill hit a three from the corner and was fouled.
“We didn’t have much offense going but we moved the ball well on that play,” Hill said. “[Welch] got me open and I just let it fly. I’m always confident in my shot. I shoot plenty every day. I knew I was going to step up big for my team. I love these guys and I have to hit that shot for them.
“It was amazing,” Welch said. “He’s a senior and all he’s been talking about for a week is this game. For him to come up with a big play like that is great. He deserves it, he’s been working hard for it.”
Hill finished with nine points and Welch had nine points and six rebounds. The victory gives Naperville North (24-2, 15-1 DuPage Valley) the conference title.
“Since freshman year we haven’t won conference,” Hill said. “They have kind of dominated. This was our goal so it is very big for all of us. Their offense is really tough to handle, it is mentally straining the whole game but we did a pretty good job.”
Wheaton-Warrenville South (22-6, 13-3) had a chance to win in regulation but Matt Broadhead’s three-point attempt rimmed out.
Neither team attempted a shot in the first overtime, there were multiple turnovers. The Tigers only attempted one shot in the second overtime.
“Who knows what they are thinking,” Naperville North coach Jeff Powers said. “They played to what their personnel is and that is why the game was close. That is their style, we were prepared for it. Our defense was outstanding. It’s just hard to score against them, they are good.”
Senior Parker Robinson led Wheaton-Warrenville South with 10 points and five rebounds. Jake Healy, Chase Stebbins and Brodhead each scored seven.
Chris Johnson, a 6-7 senior, led the Huskies with 15 points and five rebounds. The Huskies enter the playoffs on a nine-game winning streak. Their last loss was to Wheaton-Warrenville South on Jan. 20.
Naperville North is the top seed in the Class 4A Glenbard East Sectional. The Huskies could face No. 11 Benet or Wheaton-Warrenville South again in the sectional final.Tags: Naperville North, Wheaton-Warrenville South