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(L to R): Alec Goetz of St. Charles North, Ryan Sitter (14) and Francisco Mari (30) of Elgin, and Kyle Swanson of North battle for a loose ball under the basket. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
St. Charles North’s Quinten Payne drove the baseline for two of his 23 points on a resounding two-hand slam dunk with 5:20 left Saturday to put an exclamation point on his team’s 67-36 homecourt rout of Elgin in the Upstate Eight River.
However, something else that happened at the basket long before this turned the contest into a rout early.
North outrebounded Elgin 46-26 and its defense kept the Maroons from getting good looks, resulting in a 10-of-47 night from the floor for Elgin.
“That was our best effort defensively, our best focus defensively,” St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said. “And I thought we shared the ball offensively — we gave up a good shot for a better shot.
“And if we play defense like that and commit ourselves on the defensive end and on the glass like that we can play with anybody.”
The Stars (6-3, 3-1) trailed 12-11 after a quarter when Elgin’s Arie Williams got away quickly for seven of his team-high 12 points. Then the basket became a rumor for the Maroons, and the glass mere myth.
Over the next two quarters Elgin (4-6, 1-3) went 4-of-24 from the field, got outrebounded 29-13 and outscored 30-11.
“We didn’t hit a shot,” Elgin coach Mike Sitter said. “It came down to being that simple. Arie is not going to hit for 30 every night. If Arie is not on, other kids have to pick up the slack.
“We just missed wide open shots. We missed six free throws and three layups in the first half. That’s 12 points right there at halftime. And our rebounding wasn’t that good.”
The Stars came up with 15 offensive rebounds on the night. Elgin had only three offensive rebounds after the first quarter.
“That’s the biggest thing in high school, college, NBA basketball is offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds,” Payne said. “We did that really well. It’s a game-changer when we can miss a shot at a three-pointer and we get an extra possession.
“When you get an offensive rebound, it’s like for them it’s, ‘awww we have to defend again.’ ”
Down 22-16 midway through the second quarter, Elgin was outscored 18-5 over the next 9-1/2 minutes and fell behind 40-21. Payne had nine points in that 18-5 stretch.
“He’s strong,” Poulin said of his star guard. “They were guarding him with a guard and we wanted to have him catch it in a situation where they couldn’t double- or triple team him as easily as they had in the past.”
Alec Goetz hit four three-pointers when the Maroons started to try to stop Payne from getting to the hoop, and finished the game with 12 points as nine Stars got in the scorebook.
Elgin had seven points from Tanner Bednar, but no one else with more than five besides Williams.
“We’d been in every single game,” Sitter said. “A lot of little things came home to roost tonight, a lot of bad habits on rebounding, free throws (14-of-23) and it all kind of snowballed on one bad night.”