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St. Charles North took a commanding first-half lead before holding on down the stretch to defeat North Lawndale 55-50 in the St. Charles East Ron Johnson Thanksgiving Tournament.
The victory gives coach Tom Poulin his 100th win.
"This is definitely a game you learn from," Poulin said of a sloppy second half. "We will take this and learn from it and come back after the holiday ready to go."
North Lawndale got into foul trouble early, and the North Stars capitalized, shooting 9-for-12 from the free-throw stripe in the first quarter.
Early calls also kept sophomore guard Damontre Enos on the bench for much of the early going and gave St. Charles North an opportunity to push the ball inside.
The North Stars connected on 4 of 6 three-pointers in the first half en route to a 36-18 halftime lead.
St. Charles North senior forward Quinten Payne scored 16 points as North Lawndale shadowed him on defense.
"We knew who he was, we just wanted to make sure to keep the ball out of his hands and contest everything he put up," North Lawndale head coach Lewis Thorpe said.
Junior point guard Alec Goetz kept the North Stars going with 16 of his 18 points in the first half, helping his team keep its uptempo pace despite North Lawndale's press.
The Phoenix came out for the second half fired up, closing the gap to five points with under a minute remaining in the game on the back of a Mack, who scored 17 of his 19 points after the break.
Thorpe made sure his team was ready to go after a lackluster first half.
"We just needed to play with more pride," Thorpe said. "We're a team from the city so we should be used to a physical game like this."