Boys Basketball: Naperville North advances in regional
BY BLAKE BAUMGARTNER For Sun-Times Media February 25, 2013 10:30PM
Naperville North's Anthony Rehayem dribbles upcourt against Romeoville's Jimmy Moon. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 27, 2013 11:42AM
All year long, Naperville North coach Jeff Powers has espoused his team’s focus on “winning the day.”
Little did it know how difficult that task would be on Monday.
With five days to stew over its lackluster performance during its regular-season finale at Glenbard North, 10th-seeded Naperville North pulled out a 51-44 victory over No. 23 Romeoville in the second quarterfinal of the Class 4A Benet Regional.
Securing its second 20-win season in four years under Powers’ tutelage, Naperville North (20-8) didn’t find much breathing room until a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter broke the game open.
With the lead exchanging hands four times pretty quickly in the fourth and the Spartans holding tenuously to a 27-26 lead, Derek Westman went to work for the Huskies.
Scoring nine straight points during the 14-0 run and 12 of his 14 points overall on the night in the fourth, Westman proved to be the catalyst yet again in sending his team into a rubber match with crosstown rival and seventh-seeded Naperville Central on Wednesday.
“Too close. I don’t know. It’s the fourth quarter right now. That’s been the only place I can be able to hit shots right now,” said Westman, who had 10 of his 14 points in a 52-48 win over the Redhawks on Feb. 16 in the fourth quarter. “My teammates finally got me going in the fourth. Bryan (LoLordo) with that pass and the and-one set me up perfectly. Finally got me going.
“I gotta start knocking down the easy shots in the first few quarters, though. Because, playing Central, just playing the fourth isn’t going to work.”
With Rashad Steele keeping the Spartans in the game, with a game-high 23 points, including seven 3-pointers, Naperville North junior guard Anthony Rehayem did his best to answer.
Scoring 18 points to lead the Huskies’ cause, including five treys, he was much of their offense until Westman got going in the fourth.
“Well, every game, somebody different gets hot, so we just have to find them,” Rehayem said. “Luckily, we got it inside and out and I was left open, so I could knock down that shot.”
Coming into the game with just five victories as the lowest-seeded team in the Class 4A Bolingbrook Sectional, Romeoville (5-22) did its best to hang.
But the 14-0 run by the Huskies ended any questions on whether the Spartans could pull off a huge shocker.
“(Westman) is their leading scorer. We let him open there for two threes. You know, we lost him. It was just a lack of communication,” Romeoville coach Jeff Bambule said. “You can’t afford mistakes like that against a good team.”
The Huskies ended the first half on a 14-6 run, using an effective balance of going inside-out.
Attacking the Spartans early by getting inside and in the lane, the Huskies’ perimeter game got going as Rehayem and J.P. Riley combined to connect on three three-pointers in the first half en route to taking a 16-10 lead into halftime.
In the regional’s earlier game Monday, Plainfield North defeated Downers Grove North 57-46 and will face Benet Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.