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Senior Quinten Payne scored 13 of his game-high 20 points in the second half to lead St. Charles North to a 44-37 victory over host Batavia during Thursday’s Upstate Eight River contest.
Apparently, practice with his team, as well as with his dad, is paying off.
“We do a ton of shooting in practice and then I go up with my dad (Kent to Elgin Community College),” Payne said. “It won’t be a super killer workout, we won’t go for two hours, but for a good 30-45 minute workout.
“He’ll come watch the game and whatever he saw that I need to work on, we go and work on it, and that’s what I tried to do tonight.”
Payne drained three three-pointers, hammering down a pair in the third quarter. He also converted a nifty three-point play early in the fourth quarter. Still, the North Stars were never able to pull away as Batavia proved resilient in the second half.
Batavia (2-6, 0-3) pulled to within 38-37 with 1:47 left in the contest on a pair of free throws from Zach Strittmatter (10 points, five rebounds).
St. Charles North (5-3, 2-1) patiently controlled its ensuing possession and eventually forced the Bulldogs to commit two fouls. It resulted in sending the North Stars to the free-throw line where Alex Goetz (10 points) converted the front and back end of a one-and-one to make it a 40-37 contest.
Payne sealed the deal afterward, draining four consecutive free throw attempts in the final 23 seconds.
“I thought we did a good job of taking care of the basketball and not turning the ball over,” St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said. “In turn, it forced them to foul and we made our free throws.”
Another slow start buried Batavia. The Bulldogs fell behind 9-0 and didn’t convert a field goal until Mike Rueffer hit a jumper with 30 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. Batavia also punished itself with an 8-for-16 effort from the charity stripe.
“I think it’s something that might be a little bit mental there,” Batavia coach Jim Nazos said in regard to the slow start. “I think sometimes we play early on to not make mistakes than to attack.”
Batavia’s Micah Coffey had 10 points. St. Charles North’s Justin Stanko collected a game-best 7 rebounds.