Boys Basketball: Naperville North avenges season-ending loss to BenetNaperville North's Mike Keane (right) and Benet Academy's Bobby Wehrli battle for a rebound at Naperville North High School in Naperville, Ill., on tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011.
| Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 6, 2011 10:38PM
Nine months and two days after suffering a dramatic double-overtime loss to Benet in its own regional final, the opportunity to make amends finally came Tuesday night for Naperville North.
Following a similar script like the one they used last March, the Huskies used a ball-control offense to try and keep the ball away from the Redwings and it paid off as they pulled out a 44-40 victory in Naperville.
Senior Matt Stacho scored all of his team-high 11 points in the second half as the Huskies overcame a slow start, which saw them get down 10-2 early in the first.
“They wanted to play a faster game. We slowed it down,” Stacho said. “They started doubling us. We threw it to the basket and we scored.”
Fortunate to only be down three points at halftime after managing 15 points in the first half, the Huskies finally took their first lead of the game when David Sinickas hit a three-pointer from the top of the key with 3:37 left in the third.
Sinickas’ trey started a crucial 17-8 run for Naperville North (4-2), which led by as many as nine points with 4 1/2 minutes left in the game.
Battling back to within three points and having the ball with 55 seconds left, the Redwings had one opportunity to tie the game, but senior guard John Enochs misfired on a three point attempt from the left elbow with 18 seconds left.
Naperville North got the ensuing rebound and Stacho’s three-point play at the other end of the floor sealed matters.
“We ran a set play for him for the look inside to (center) Sean (O’Mara),” Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said. “And if Sean wasn’t there, we knew John would be open. We got a good look and we would run that same play again. The play was efficient. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t.”
Thanks to shooting only 12 of 45 from the field, a measly 26.7 percent, Benet (4-1) saw its 43-game regular-season winning streak get snapped.
The Redwings had held their four previous opponents coming into Tuesday to no more than 40 points in a game as won despite scoring a season-low 44 points, just two more than they scored in the one-point, double-overtime loss to Benet last March.
O’Mara led all scorers with 13 points, with nine of those coming in the fourth, as seniors Mike Keane and Mike Johnson both did a solid job guarding the 6-8, 230-pound sophomore.
“I was proud of our kids. We knew they had good three-point shooters,” Naperville North coach Jeff Powers said. “We kept those around. It’s awful hard, if you want to go down and help the big guy out, you gotta leave them and go one-on-one. I think Keane and Mike Johnson did a great job (on O’Mara).
They really did (a great job) on their big kid. That’s pretty impressive. (Keane’s) 6-5, 200 pounds playing against that boy, I think he did a great job.”