Boys basketball: Naperville North cruises past West Chicago
By Matt Le Cren For Sun-Times Media February 1, 2013 10:12PM
Updated: February 1, 2013 10:12PM
Phil Jackson once wrote that if you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball.
Derek Westman was Naperville North’s Buddha on Friday night and the Huskies did get him the ball, and not only in the lane.
Westman scored seemingly from everywhere and nearly at will, pouring in a career-high 32 points to lift the host Huskies to a 63-43 DuPage Valley Conference victory over West Chicago in Naperville.
“My teammates were getting me open and they were just falling tonight,” Westman said. “It’s one of those nights that you live for.”
The 6-3 senior swingman scored the first points of the game on a putback and later in the first quarter found the net on a power inside move and a fast-break layup off a steal and assist from Bryan LoLordo.
Westman, whose previous career high was 24 points, made 13 of 19 shots from the floor and 3 of 3 from the free-throw line. He did most of his damage in the paint and from the baseline but he also was 3-for-6 from three-point range, with one of the misses being a full-court heave at the end of the third quarter.
“My teammates were giving me great screens, getting me open and all the credit is to them,” Westman said. “I couldn’t do it without them.”
West Chicago (5-16, 0-10) played tough in the first half, tying the game at 14-14 on a tip-in by John Konchar two minutes into the second period. But Westman scored on a drive and that triggered a 17-6 run that included three layups by freshman reserve guard Jelani McClain and five straight points from LoLordo.
Westman began the second half by scoring on a reverse layup and then knocking down a trey off a feed from LoLordo to give Naperville North (16-6, 7-3) a 36-22 lead.
“Derek is fun to watch and our kids were smart enough to give him the ball,” Naperville North coach Jeff Powers said. “When you realize a person is hot, and Derek’s hitting the three, then it’s very, very tough to stop him because of his ability to take you off the dribble. So we ran some stuff for him, our kids kept finding him and he had a really nice night.”
Westman tallied 12 points during the decisive third quarter in which the Huskies outscored the Wildcats 15-6. He then had the first bucket of the fourth quarter and later buried two more three-pointers and when he exited a minute later with the Huskies up by 25 points, he had scored only two fewer points than West Chicago.
But Westman’s shooting binge wasn’t the only highlight for the Huskies, who made all 13 of their free-throw attempts, outrebounded the Wildcats 36-14 and played solid defense, especially in the second half, holding the 6-4 Konchar to two baskets after intermission.
“After halftime we tightened up the defense, started getting some help-side in there, stopping Konchar going to the basket, gave him a tough time, made him try to shoot the threes more than get an easy two points,” said Westman, who also had nine rebounds, three steals and two assists. “You can’t take any team for granted in the DVC. Any one night, one team could be on and one team could be off and it could go either way, so you’ve just got to take it one game at a time and we did a good job pulling this one out.”
LoLordo had seven points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals for the Huskies, while McClain and JP Riley both added six points.
Konchar led West Chicago with 17 points and Marco Lomibao added nine points.