Naperville North’s Jack Hill buries a three in double-overtime to beat Wheaton-Warrenville South

Naperville North's Jack Hill (12) hits a four-point play to give the Huskies the lead against Wheaton-Warrenville South, Wednesday 02-21-18. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

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.

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  • Douglas Sewart Jr

    I was at this game – I grew up in Wheaton and now live in Naperville. I went to Wheaton North and my sons will go to either Naperville North, Naperville Central or Metea Valley. I’m proud of Wheaton and Naperville. What I saw in this game was two teams that played incredibly hard every single possession from the opening tip – extending their zones out to halfcourt and trapping at every opportunity. Both teams recovered extremely well and while South has a reputation for holding the ball I didn’t think they held it on purpose in this game. They held it until they got a good look – and those good looks were hard to come by. Naperville North did the same thing. This was a great game with two great teams playing as hard as they possibly could on every possession. South did hold the ball for the overtimes, but then they also stole the ball back from North a few times after losing it. The kids played so hard and there was so much riding on every possession that the overtimes were predictably a little ragged as fatigue and pressure likely took over a little bit.

    If you don’t think South has talent I don’t know what to tell you. They can shoot the ball and their point guard (no. 22) is terriffic. Wheaton South is super disciplined and they WILL NOT take a bad shot. They don’t just sit there with the ball. They swing it and they cut – but they’re not just going to throw it up.

    Naperville North, with Welch on the point of that zone, is fierce. Johnson inside is a beast and their guards are really good as well. Welch is the ultimate X factor on offense – a 6’7″ kid who moves like a guard.

    Of course North doesn’t like the style South made them play. South wouldn’t like the style North would have them play. It was a great game. High level competition that both teams and fan bases should be extremely proud of. No one is the arbiter of “the right way to play”. Personally, I like how North plays better, but basketball fans know that there’s nothing wrong with what South does. You don’t go 22-6 around here without having a really good team with really good players. If people around the area think South wins simply because of some kind of gimmick they are under the wrong impression.

    I always say, “If you’re so great then go out and beat them.” whoever “them” is. Kudos to Naperville North – they did.

    As for the end of regulation, it was chaotic. I doubt if the referees really knew when the foul occurred and erred on the side of caution, which was sending the game to overtime. I didn’t hear the buzzer because of how loud it was and all the action on the court. Healy was out of control on the sidelines and is lucky he had so many people holding him back, including one of his sons. I never saw a human face turn that shade of purple. I’m not sure which son (no. 4 I thought) but no. 4 was a little unsteady in the overtimes, turning it over a couple of times. I wondered right away if he was a little shaken by the end of the game and his father’s/coach’s antics. It’s not a criticism of either (coach or player) – just an observation.

    Great job by both teams – North had to out-execute South to win and they eventually did.

  • WN still sucks

    I love how Weston South has become “the bad boys” of highschool basketball because teams can’t figure out how to stop their “hold the ball” strategy. Naperville north is good and sort of kind of figured it out so props to them. But if you don’t like the strategy, beat it. Trap them, foul them. Do whatever you want. You probably will try, you probably will fail. WWS is a pissed off team right now because they were cheated out of that game and then a player proceeds to talk down on the game plan they have used to beat them four times in the past two years. WWS is coming. And I’d be scared to get in front of that train.

    • Pirate Sleeved Jersey

      I only count 3 WWS victories over NN in the past three seasons not 4.

      Zero wins for the Tigers in 2015-16 when NN won the DVC @ 15-1.

      Two conf wins last season for the Tigers, but in the only game of real consequence, during the state tourney, WWS, when given ample opportunity (36x) to take unguarded 15 ft shots, failed to make even 59% of them and lost.

      And – one victory this season where the Tigers came from behind at home when NN was playing w/ out its top player.

      As much as I’d love to see another WWS v NN tussle, at this point I’d be surprised if WWS gets out of the regional. It will be tough beating WN a third time and if they do a dangerous Batavia team lurks.

      But if the Tigers do win the regional and get to play Benet @ Glenbard East, the over under on that game will be ~50.

  • John Thorne Sr

    The Healy name is not that well respected or spoken highly of in the basketball community. The team reflects the coach. I give them credit they play hard and intense, but they would pee on you if they could. Healy just acts like a mean, grumpy old man when around others. Can’t judge a coach on a nice two year run. He wasn’t that great in his previous stint at WWS. The next few years will tell what Healy is really made of. They might not win more than 2 conference games next year in the new DuKane conference.

  • Manny

    It looks like all the holding the ball came back to bite them. They couldnt even get a shot off at the end of the game. Nothing wrong with the strategy of holding the ball if the rules allow it. Nothing wrong with complaining about that style of play either. If the kids on WWS enjoy playing a slow down game to win games keep doing it. It takes skill to hold the ball that long. If it didnt every bad team would do it. They have a great point guard #22. Without him they could not run this offense. Did anyone see the Kids have to hold back Coach Healy from going after the refs? I cannot believe there was not a T. Fun in the DVC…

  • High school fan

    Illinois high school basketball should have a shot clock!!! It’s a way to weed out the teams that simply can’t compete. Holding the ball is not basketball on any level. A shot clock would prepare the kids for college and make coaches coach.

    • PJ

      Not basketball on any level? When were you born? When basketball started years ago, there was a jump ball after every made basket. We have come a long way since then, but a shot clock in high school is going too far. These aren’t professionals and they’re not scholarship kids. They’re high school kids. And if you add it to the high school game, you going to add it at the junior high level? Then see how fast people lose interest in the game because little kids are jacking up the first shot they get to beat the clock. I watched the Simeon-Orr and Evanston-New Trier games on TV, and the thing that struck me is that those kids can’t shoot either. It’s either a layup, a dunk or an errant 3-pointer. And that’s your idea of quality basketball? Plus, who is going to run the clock. You going to pay more at the gate so they can afford another person at the table? Then there will be constant arguments about whether a ball hit the rim or not, whether the shot cock should have been reset, and no way to go to the replay. Unless you want to add replay to high school basketball. Who’s going to pay for that? You? You want people to pay more property taxes so school districts can afford shot clocks and replay for basketball? Then we’ll have to cut other sports programs. It goes on and on. Leave it alone. It’s bad enough we have four classes in Illinois and CPS won’t be satisfied until they win every class in boys AND girls. You want to know why attendance is down at the state tournament? Because it has lost its charm. Nobody wants to watch all-star teams from the city win every frickin’ state title… end of rant.

      • Average White 3-Point Shooter

        Agreed…WWS plays a style of basketball that is unique to them and them only. It’s part of the game. If they get to run up and down the court with more athletic team (ie NN vs Bolingbrook Super Sectional last year) they will not be as successful.

      • lv

        why so bitter about cps dominating highschool basketball?

      • Bill Morrow

        There are other current states (New York for 1) where High Schools have a shot clock. since ALL of the college level teams have shot clocks, why would you not think this prepares these young kids better than not having a shot clock ? I mean, the HS have a 3 point line right ?

  • James

    The WWS adults going after a high school kid on tweeter for his comments about their slow style of play is unforgivable. MERCURY ELITE liking the tweet says something worse about that program. The WWS kids play hard and deserve credit, but the adults around WWS should be committed.

    • Educated basketball fan

      The WWS parents?!?!?!??!??! Two men sat behind WWS bench and heckled not only the head coach, but also the players on the bench. One of the parents proceeded to flip the bird to a player on WWS at the end of regulation. Also, when a kid calls out a whole team for not having a “fun culture” when he has no idea what happened is ignorant. They won the game (after being cheated) and he decided to take a unnecessary shot at them. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in Naperville.

      • James

        You are clearly making this up. That never happened. Only WWS fans were behind their bench. Cheated? I have never seen a team get away with more fouls that WWS. Just because they are short the refs allowed them to grap and hang on the North players all game.

        • Jeff “fun culture” powers

          They were simply cheated. Jake Healy was fouled with a full second left not once but twice, and shot no free throws you unbelievably insanely uneducated twat. Turn autocorrect on, those Naperville school systems are doing one hell of a job! Whoever was in a suit behind the scores table most definitely flipped the players off. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in that garbage town

          • Lavar Ball

            Ah, the suburbs…where petty, average, middle aged people are convinced of their superiority over others yet are average in every single way.

    • Jeff “fun culture” powers

      This is a joke. WWS plays basketball for 32 minutes without any kind of delay. Why would they rush to take a bad shot or give the other team a shot in OT? I should be ashamed that it took a spineless red for us to finally beat WWS. Hope to god we don’t see them in the sectional final bc we are some frauds with classless parents and players

      • Manny

        WWS fans do not know how to lose with grace do they.

        • lefty

          Nor do many fan bases, city or suburbs, rich or poor; the whole culture of going all-in in 4th grade makes these players and families extreme whiners. Much much different than 20 years ago.

    • lefty

      So yet another person who can dish out the trash talk, but not take it. 21st century basketball.

  • BBall fan

    I agree with Welch. Not taking a shot in a four minute OT? That’s not basketball.

  • Duke Carnoustie

    I have never been in favor of a shot clock in HS but situations like this make you wonder. The trash talk and bad sportsmanship on both ends also make me question the basketball these programs play.

    It’s a black eye on our beloved sport.

    • Pirate Sleeved Jersey

      Trash talk, yes, IT”S A RIVALRY, but I have not seen any bad sportsmanship aside from a pregame coaches squabble a couple years ago and I’ve attended the last seventeen of the NNHS v WWSHS hoops games dating back to the 2010-11 season.

      Me thinks the Dukester might still a little salty over the loss his Wildkits took to at paws of the Huskies @ Glenbard East last season. ETHS wins that puppy and they would have vaulted to a #1 ranking and you never know how March might have turned out.

      As for the style WWS plays, I hate it, but hats off to them. They are well coached and play to their strengths (shooting 3’s and tenacity). I doubt Healy would make them play that style if they had the size & talent Simeon & Young have.

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