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In the end, Friday’s crosstown showdown between St Charles North and St. Charles East came down to a pair of missed free throws by the North Stars’ Quinten Payne with four tenths of a second left on the clock in overtime, giving the Saints a 56-55 Upstate Eight River win.
However, the bigger factor throughout the game was the play of St. Charles East point guard Dom Adduci. The junior poured in 27 points, including the go-ahead three pointer with 23 seconds left in overtime.
“Coach drew up a great play,” said Adduci. “I started down on the block and came up off a double screen. I had space and felt comfortable taking the shot. When I let it go I wasn’t quite sure, but when it went in it was the best feeling in the world.”
Adduci connected on just one of his first eight shots from the field, but after knocking down his first three pointer of the game midway through the second quarter he went on to bury five treys. He also made 8-of-11 free throws.
“I came into the game in attack mode,” said Adduci. “I thought I had a better balance of taking the ball to the basket more and still getting my outside shots.
“It’s a huge win for us because we’ve been on a little skid since Kendall (Stephens) went out with the injury. We needed to prove we could beat a good team like North.”
Adduci scored all six of the points for St. Charles East (11-7, 4-2) in overtime.
“He did a great job of adjusting his game tonight,” St. Charles East coach Patrick Woods of Adduci. “He can shoot from any where on the floor, but he becomes even better when he is able to take it the basket like he did tonight because it opens up the whole floor for him.”
Despite the two missed free throws at the end, Payne had an outstanding game and carried the North Stars most of the way with a team-high 26 points. His three-pointer with 55 seconds left in regulation sent the game to overtime.
Payne had a three-point play with 1:43 left in overtime that put the North Stars up 55-53. On North’s final possession he was fouled going up for a reverse layup attempt after driving past two defenders along the baseline. He had made 6-of-8 free throw attempts up to that point.
“It’s disappointing,” said Payne. “I feel like it’s on me because I should have made those shots and I feel I like I let my team down. It was loud but I felt good at the line. I tried to act like it was just like any other two free throws. Unfortunately they didn’t fall.
“I just have to realize there is nothing I can do about it now other than get back in the gym, practice more and be ready to make them the next time I get a chance.”
North falls to 10-7 overall and 4-3 in the UEC River with the defeat.
“I feel for Quinten,” said North coach Tom Poulin. “He’s a competitor and wants to win as badly any one. And we have still have all the confidence in him moving forward.
“The game comes down to a lot more than just the two fee throws. I thought the difference was we weren’t able to defend their ball screens consistently. Their ball handlers were able to move the ball North/South on us because we weren’t recognizing who was coming off the screens.”