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What makes Naperville Central such a difficult matchup is that the Redhawks have size on the inside with 6-foot-9 center Nick Czarnowski and they surround him with shooters.
The Redhawks connected on 10 three-pointers on Saturday night as Naperville Central scored a 77-65 victory against visiting Wheaton North in a DuPage Valley Conference matchup in Naperville.
The game was back and forth until Central went on a 12-0 run that spanned the final two minutes of the first half and opening two minutes of the second half to help the Redhawks take a 41-27 lead.
Guards Nicky Lopez and Rob Suntken sparked the streak by each connecting on two three-pointers.
“We have confidence that our perimeter guys can make shots and when they are open, we take them,” said Lopez, who finished with a game-high 22 points, including four 3-pointers. “When shots start falling, the defense picks up and when that picks up — everything is clicking.”
Central coach Pete Kramer was really pleased with how well the Redhawks (10-4, 3-2) moved the ball on offense.
“We were efficient,” Kramer said. “We shared the ball; we were really unselfish. Nicky was outstanding. He is so active and relentless and fearless.”
Wheaton North (5-6, 1-4) closed to within 45-40 in the last minute of the third quarter, but Central answered with baskets from Mike Blaszczyk and Taylor Zelinski to increase the Redhawks’ lead to 49-40. Wheaton North never came closer the rest of the way as Central connected on 17 of 22 free throws to prevent the Falcons from mounting any type of a run.
“We played pretty well for 28 minutes against a very, very good team,” Wheaton North first-year coach Dave Brackmann said. “It is hard to close the first half like we did because we faced an 11-point deficit. We knew it would take 32 minutes to beat them and we got a good 28.”
Blaszczyk (15 points) and Suntken (12 points) joined Lopez in double figures.
Matt Biegalski led the Falcons with 20 points with Jake Heggeland added 13 points and Andrew Slivinski and Jaylen Howze each with 10 points.
Central has two local foes on deck with a non-conference game at Waubonsie Valley on Tuesday before the Redhawks host Naperville North on Friday.