Boys Basketball: Naperville Central gets past Metea
By Paul Johnson For Sun-Times Media November 21, 2012 7:26PM
Updated: December 12, 2012 10:41PM
Naperville Central’s boys basketball team has seen quite a bit in its first three games of the season.
Monday, the Redhawks cruised to an impressive win over Oswego. Tuesday, they hung with one of the state’s best teams, Proviso East, before falling. Wednesday, Central didn’t play its best game against Metea Valley, but found a way to win.
The Redhawks improved to 2-1 with a 71-65 win at the Hoops for Healing Tournament despite point guard Ryan Antony and star junior Nick Czarnowski saddled with foul trouble most of the game.
Enter senior reserve guard Rob Suntken.
Suntken played 19 key minutes and made them count, scoring a team-high 15 points to help the Redhawks escape with a win against a Metea team that played its best game of the young season.
“He was huge,” Central coach Pete Kramer said. “He was outstanding. He’s another senior that stepped up. (Mike Blaszczyk) stepped up the other night. I thought Nicky (Lopez) did a great job of taking over the point when Ryan got into foul trouble and had to come out. We had some kids step up. We didn’t play real well, but found a way to win. When you do that early, that’s a good sign for your team.”
Metea (0-3) struggled in losses to Proviso East and Oswego to start the season, but managed to take a 33-31 lead at the half on Sean Davis’ 17-footer at the buzzer. But Central was able to get some separation in the third quarter via the three-point shot. Austin Pauga hit a pair and Blaszczyk hit one as well as they opened a 48-42 lead with 1:05 left in the third.
The Redhawks took advantage of a pair of technical fouls on the Mustangs early in the fourth to push the lead to 57-47. Central hit all four free throws and then Suntken hit a three with the extra possession to give the Redhawks seven points in an 11-second span in a close game.
“We just tried to take care of the ball, hit the shots that came to us and play in the flow of the game,” Suntken said of the bench’s role in the win. “It’s fun to get tough wins and big wins. That just shows how well we play together. We’ve been playing together for a while. We felt comfortable. We had to keep our cool and stay relaxed.”
Despite Davis fouling out, the Mustangs managed to climb back into the game behind Vin Patel and Trayvond Taylor. Patel hit three three-pointers in the fourth and Taylor added five of his team-high 15 points down the stretch, as well. But the closest the Mustangs could get was 65-62 with 1:48 left.
“We were very pleased with the way they came out against a very good team,” Metea coach Bob Vozza said. “I don’t know why we were hesitant the first couple of games. We saw it all summer from these guys, so it was good to see today.”
Taylor led the Mustangs with 15 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and five steals in the loss. Patel scored 12 points; Davis added 11 and Hayden Barnard scored 10. Blaszczyk scored 14 and Pauga 13 for Central.