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St. Charles North's Quinten Payne drives to the hoop past Elgin's Eric Sedlack on Saturday. | Sean King~For Sun-Times Media
Consistency has proven to be elusive all season for St. Charles North. But perhaps things are about to change.
The North Stars won their third straight game with a 64-53 victory over Elgin at Chesbrough Field House on Saturday in an Upstate Eight River meeting. It matches the longest win streak of the season for the North Stars, who also won three in a row at the start of the season.
“Consistency has been our goal all along,” said North coach Tom Poulin. “But we just haven’t been able to string wins together. Hopefully this is the start of something. This is definitely the time of year when you want to be peaking.”
With the help of six first half three-pointers, including three from Alec Goetz, the North Stars had a comfortable 38-24 lead early in the third quarter, but then had to hold off a fierce Elgin rally.
The Maroons went on a 13-0 run with a pair of three-pointers from Isaiah Butler, a couple baskets by Malik Parham-Dunner, and another three by Arie Williams to pull to within 38-37.
However, the North Stars answered back with seven straight points of their own. Jake Ludwig stemmed the tide by getting to the line and knocking down a pair of free throws. Ryan Thomas followed with a driving layup. Ludwig then put the North Stars firmly back in control with a three-pointer to extend the lead back up to 45-37 with just over a minute left in the third quarter. Elgin could get no closer than five points the rest of the way.
“Good teams like Elgin are going to make runs at you,” said North senior Quinten Payne, who had a team-high 14 points. “But I am proud of the way our guys we responded. I thought we did a great job of digging in and answering right back with a run of our own.”
The North Stars (14-8, 7-4) persistently attacked the basket, getting to the line 38 times where they made 23 free throws.
“Getting to the basket is something we stress all the time,” said Poulin. “We are not a team that can post up a lot, but we will try to get into the lane as much as possible.”
The North Stars defense held Williams, Elgin’s leading scorer on the season, to just one point in the first half and 10 points in the game.
“The most important thing when you get off the bus and come here to play is find where (Williams) is at and start guarding him,” said Poulin. “I think he’s one of the best players in the state. So our goal was to limit his touches the best we could.”
Butler led the Maroons (11-13, 2-9) with 18 points.
“We have to be more consistent throughout the game,” said Elgin coach Mike Sitter. “We had a real high energy level when things were going well during our run. But as soon as something doesn’t go our way we seem to let down. That just can’t happen.”