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Bartlett’s Lance Whitaker and St. Charles North’s Quinten Payne brought Division I star power to Tuesday’s Upstate Eight crossover, but a high-octane showdown between the two never materialized.
Instead, defense ruled the day as Whitaker and his teammates put the clamps down on Payne and the North Stars in the second half to earn a 46-38 victory.
Whitaker posted a game-high 19 points, but it was the Illinois-Chicago recruit’s defense on the Loyola-bound Payne that made the biggest difference. Payne finished with 14 points, but he had only two after halftime as St. Charles North (9-6) managed just 12 points on 4-for-19 shooting in the second half.
“We wanted to make sure we contained Quinten, kept him off the boards and contested all his shots,” Whitaker said. “It was something we focused on, and I thought we executed pretty well.”
Bartlett (13-4) trailed 26-20 at halftime, but back-to-back three-pointers from Marcus Aluquin capped an 8-0 run to start the third quarter as the Hawks took their first lead of the contest with 5:30 left in the period.
The score remained 28-26 until Kyle Swanson hit a three-pointer for the only North Stars points of the third quarter with 2:52 left, but Bartlett regained the upper hand for good with a 7-0 run capped by Whitaker’s two free throws that made the score 35-29 with 5:10 remaining in the contest.
“It was a real nice start to the half,” Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith said. “Marcus hit those two threes, we got ourselves the lead and we felt that if we ran our offense, they’d have a hard time chasing us.”
St. Charles North went without a point for the first four minutes of both the third and fourth quarters, but the fourth-quarter drought can be attributed to Bartlett’s patience on offense as it effectively milked the clock.
Swanson finished with nine points and Alec Goetz contributed seven for the North Stars.
“I thought our shot selection was poor [in the second half] and we didn’t get many open looks,” St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said. “Bartlett flat-out beat us over the course of 32 minutes. We may have had spurts here or there, but they were the better basketball team tonight.”
Jon Moss finished with eight points and Aluquin had seven for the Hawks, who made 14-of-29 from the field while extending their win streak to four.
“It was definitely a physical game,” Whitaker said. “We’ve played different types of games all season. We just found a way to win like we have pretty much all year.”
BARTLETT 46, ST. CHARLES NORTH 38
St. Charles North (9-6)
Payne 5 3-3 14, Swanson 3 0-0 9, Goetz 2 2-4 7, Thomas 2 0-0 4, Neari 1 0-0 2, Stando 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 5-7 38.
Whitaker 5 8-10 19, Moss 3 1-1 8, Aluquin 2 1-2 7, Reid 2 0-0 5, Wantroba 1 0-0 3, McKeague 0 2-2 2, Kramer 1 0-1 2. Totals 14 12-16 46.
St. Charles North 13 13 3 9 -- 38
Bartlett 10 10 13 13 -- 46
Three-point goals -- SCN: 5 (Swanson 3, Goetz, Payne). Bartlett: 6 (Aluquin 2, Moss, Wantroba, Reid, Whitaker). Fouled out -- None.