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Naperville North's Derek Westman goes through the Wheaton North defense for a layup on Friday, November 30, 2012 at Naperville North High School in Naperville IL. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media

Jeff Powers learned an important lesson this past week.

Powers, Naperville North’s varsity basketball coach, was frustrated by the lack of fast starts by his team through the early portion of the season, so Powers sent out an email to his coaching staff asking for suggestions as to why this was the case.

One response from freshman coach Clint Hunter stood out.

Hunter had read that Boston Celtics assistant coach Kevin Eastman said that a team starts its games the same way it starts its practices.

“I was looking back at our practices and I determined that we don’t do enough aggressive things, so I change up the tempo of practice at the beginning, and I can thank Clint for that and we came out of the gate really well tonight,” Powers said.

The Huskies were the aggressors from the start as they emerged with a 62-41 win against visiting Wheaton North on Friday night in the DuPage Valley opener for both teams.

North senior Derek Westman paced the Huskies with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

“[Derek] is a monster and he stayed out of trouble,” Powers said. “He is the heart and soul of our team. When he goes, he’s hard to stop because he is such a physical player and great rebounder. He was under control today, which made him hard to guard.”

Westman had eight of his 11 points in the second quarter as the Huskies (3-2, 1-0) opened a 31-21 halftime lead.

Naperville outscored Wheaton 21-9 in the third quarter to help the Huskies put away the game.

Junior guard Anthony Rehayem led all scorers with 21 points, including three 3-pointers.

In what has become customary under Powers, the Huskies consistently gave the Falcons a variety of defensive looks as the Huskies threw several different man-to-man and zone looks at the Falcons.

“We didn’t handle their changing defenses very well and we didn’t execute how we talked about,” Wheaton North coach Dave Brackman, who is in his first season, replacing Jim Nazos, who is now coaching at Batavia. “We knew they were going to mix things up and we have to get better at our poise in those situations. We got outplayed from the beginning and have a lot of work to do. Naperville North is a good team and we’re simply not there yet. With time, we’ll keep getting better.”

The Falcons (1-1, 0-1) did not play Thanksgiving week as they played their first game this past Tuesday. Matt Biegalski led the Falcons with 12 points and Mike Cerone added 10.

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