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Naperville Central's Nicky Lopez puts up a three-point shot while being defended by Glenbard East's Marvin Grant-Clark in Naperville on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media
In a schedule that continues to test Naperville Central as the season moves along, it certainly hasn't let up.
With games against No. 6 Benet and No. 15 West Aurora coming within the next four nights, Naperville Central welcomed its latest challenge to town Friday: DuPage Valley Conference-leading Glenbard East.
Responding in a big way behind seeing four guys reach double figures, Naperville Central rolled to a 68-47 victory over the Rams in Naperville.
Building on their four-point halftime lead by extending it out to as far as 10 points during the third, the Redhawks saw the Rams start to build some momentum by going on a 8-0 run to get to within 40-38 early in the fourth.
But Naperville Central (13-6, 6-2 DuPage Valley) responded by utilizing a 28-9 run to end the game.
"Going into halftime, we knew that they were going to get back into the game and make their pushes, but it's a game of runs. You gotta keep on fighting,” Antony said of the game’s final stretch.
Antony, junior center Nick Czarnowski, senior Nick Lopez and senior guard Mike Blaszczyk combined to put up 57 of the 68 points the Redhawks scored on the night.
“We were very prepared for this game … I just thought it was a total team effort, but our guards just were really active,” Naperville Central coach Pete Kramer said. “Our matchup zone, we switched and doing different things in it and the kids just executed it great.
“At the offensive end, I thought we just took care of the ball. I thought Ryan was outstanding (Friday) night. He only had one turnover. He had the ball in his hands a lot against two very good guards in (Tahron) Harvey and (JaRon) Hall.”
Despite receiving a combined 42 of its 47 points from a quartet of players in senior Harvey, senior Mike Kjeldsen, junior Hall and senior Marvin Grant-Clark, Glenbard East (12-6, 7-1 DuPage Valley) showed little resistance towards stopping the Redhawks’ offense in falling into a first-place tie atop the DVC with West Aurora after being handed the 21-point loss.
“I think you gotta start off giving Naperville Central a lot of credit, especially after the way we handled them at (our) place (in a 59-41 Rams’ victory on Nov. 30 in Lombard),” Glenbard East coach Scott Miller said. “They obviously have been working to prepare for us and they did a great job. I thought they executed in every phase of the game.”
The Redhawks seized control somewhat by ending the first half on a 10-2 run to turn a 20-16 deficit into a 26-22 halftime lead.