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Derek Westman played with a sureness of purpose and meaning. “This was a very big weekend for us, and we wanted to make a statement,” the senior Naperville North swingman said.
Westman hit a game-changing three-pointer and scored a game-high 20 points as the visiting Huskies used a 10-2 fourth quarter run to subdue York 54-51 in nonconference play Friday night in Elmhurst.
The Huskies return to the same gym for the York Holiday tournament. The game served as the perfect prelude and what they hope is a wake up call to their forthcoming opponents. “We play Glenbard East [Saturday] night, and we looked at this weekend as playing two great teams,” he said.
The defending DuPage Valley champion Huskies (7-2) have been overshadowed by the strong starts of West Aurora and Glenbard East. “I was really proud of the boys tonight,” Naperville North coach Jeff Powers said. “Right now, they are playing with a litte bit of a chip on their shoulder, a sense that they have been slighted a little bit.”
Westman also contributed seven rebounds, three assists and two steals for the Huskies. He also converted two of his team’s seven three-pointers. The most important happened on the opening possession of the final quarter.
With his team trailing 37-34 to start the final quarter, Westman caught the ball on the right baseline and drilled a 20-footer.
“They made a big three-pointer at the start of the fourth quarter, and it got them going,” York coach Vince Doran said. “Give them credit. They stepped up and hit shots.” The dagger came moments later on junior guard Brendan Herbstritt’s three-pointer from the left wing.
It broke the game’s seventh and final tie at 39 and provided the Huskies a lead they never relinquished. “Everybody on our team knows about him and they’re not surprised, but Herbstritt is a really great shooter,” Powers said.
Naperville North junior guard Anthony Rehayem played a superb all-around game in scoring 10 points and adding five assists and two steals.
Bryan LoLordo scored seven points and was the primary defensive stopper of York star guard David Cohn most of the night. The Colorado State-bound Cohn scored 15 points to lead the Dukes (7-3), but he was harassed into 5-of-15 shooting from the floor.
“The plan was to play off of him, and make pass the ball,” LoLordo said. “Once he passed the ball, we wanted to play up on him and not let him get the ball back, and I think it worked most of the night.”
The Huskies also received some crucial contributions from junior reserve guard Jayson Winick. He scored all seven of his points in the fourth quarter. His two free throws capped the 10-2 Huskies’ run that turned their three-point deficit into a five-point advantage. Until the closing seconds, York never pulled within a one-possession game.
Junior 6-8 forward Frank Toohey contributed 10 points for the Dukes. “We’ve been struggling with our offense the last couple of games,” Doran said. “Basically we have to do a better job of finishing at the rim.”