Oswego ends Naperville North’s season
BY PAUL JOHNSON For Sun-Times Media February 29, 2012 10:02PM
Naperville North's Derek Westman blocks the shot of Oswego's Miles Simelton during Wednesday's regional game in Oswego. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 30, 2012 12:52PM
With a team playing as well as Oswego’s boys basketball team has been playing as of late, the fact that the Panthers are the No. 12 seed in the East Aurora Class 4A Sectional did not faze them.
Fifth-seeded Naperville North learned that the hard way in Wednesday’s Oswego Regional semifinal.
The Panthers sprung a 65-53 upset on DuPage Valley Conference champion Naperville North to advance to Friday’s regional title game against West Aurora. The win was Oswego’s sixth straight and ninth in the past 10 games.
“Coach told us all week, just because we’re the 12 seed doesn’t mean that we’re an underdog,” Oswego junior Miles Simelton said. “We had to come out and play hard. We came out ready to play today.”
Naperville North (19-8) took a 26-23 lead late in the second quarter on a three-pointer from sophomore Anthony Rehayem. As it turned out, it was the last time the Huskies would be in control of the game.
Oswego (18-10) scored the final seven points of the half and never trailed again.
As has been the case for much of the Panthers’ hot streak, balanced scoring, strong defense and utilizing team speed led to the win Wednesday. Simelton led the way with 17 points with Elliot McGaughy adding 12 before fouling out.
“One of the recurring themes has been offensive balance,” Oswego coach Kevin Schnable said. “We’re sharing the ball and that makes us hard to guard. That’s fun basketball to watch and easy basketball to coach when we’re playing the right way. I’m really proud of our guys. As far as that intangible of toughness, we showed that more than we have in any game this season.”
Naperville North’s Derek Westman was in foul trouble much of the first half, but he did his part to try to get the Huskies back into the game in the second half. He scored 16 of his game-high 18 points after the break. Mike Keane also scored 18 in the loss for North.
The Huskies did have an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 55-49 with 2:23 left, but that was as close as they could get.
“I am so blessed to take this team that people said was going to finish sixth in the conference, win the DVC, win 19 games, all because these guys left their ego at the door and played like champions,” Naperville North coach Jeff Powers said. “They didn’t care who scored. They’re just a coach’s dream.”
Oswego now faces the task of taking down No. 4 seed West Aurora Friday.
“The fact is that we’re heating up at the right time,” Schnable said. “We have a tough task on Friday night. It really is an honor to have West Aurora in that game. Hopefully we compete like champions, because we did that tonight.”