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St. Charles North's Quinten Payne shoots over St. Charles East defenders on Saturday. | Michael R. Schmidt ~ For Sun-Times Media
The third time proved to be a charm for St. Charles North, as they topped rival St. Charles East 62-49 on Saturday night.
Last time the two teams met on Jan. 18, the North Stars (13-8, 6-4) dropped a heart-breaker 56-55 in overtime.
In their first meeting back in November, the Saints (13-8, 6-3) ran away with a 61-42 victory.
The threat of a sweep was all the motivation senior Quinten Payne and the rest of the North Stars needed.
“There was no way they were sweeping us tonight,” said Payne. “I wasn’t going to let my senior year or any of the other guys go out like that, especially playing them on our home floor.”
Payne certainly did his part in scoring a game-high 22 points, including eight in the first quarter to help the North Stars jump out to a 13-4 lead out of the gates.
The Saints responded to close the lead to six heading into the second quarter, but the North Stars stayed hot throughout the first half, shooting 12-of-25 from the floor, as they went into halftime leading 36-21.
As with any rivalry game, though, the Saints weren’t simply going to roll over, and they mounted an impressive comeback in the second half to make things close down the stretch.
Despite the deficit, the Saints seemed to come out of the break with the momentum and they outscored the North Stars 18-9 in the third quarter to pull within six.
A three-point play by Dom Adduci to open the fourth quarter cut the deficit to just three, but the North Stars answered with a 7-2 run, highlighted by a three-point play from a fired-up Payne.
“We said at halftime, you know they’re going to go on a run and it’s gonna be close,” said North coach Tom Poulin. “We just had to stay the course and remain intense in our effort and intensity, but calm between the ears and in our focus, and I thought we did a nice job with that,”
The run gave North some breathing room up 52-44, and they were able to put the game away from there with solid defense and good free throw shooting, as they converted 11-of-15 from the line in the fourth quarter.
“We just dug ourselves too big of a hole early on. I thought they came out with great energy and we missed a lot of opportunities early,” said East coach Patrick Woods. “We got it down to three, but we couldn’t make the plays that we needed to when it mattered.”
The Saints got a big night from Adduci, who had 11 of his team-high 20 points in the second half, as he was the driving force in their comeback.
Cole Gentry joined him in double figures with 10 points, and A.J. Washington added six points and five rebounds.
For the North Stars, Payne was not the only one to have a big game as Kyle Swanson tallied a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, a night after hitting the game-winner in overtime against Batavia.