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Naperville Central's Ryan Antony is pursued by Glenbard North's Ryan Storto in Naperville on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media
As one might expect, the more balance a basketball team exhibits, the more dangerous it becomes.
As the regular season winds down, Naperville Central is using its balance well in taking care of its business.
Leading wire-to-wire and by as many as 27 points late, Naperville Central coasted to a 85-63 victory over Glenbard North on Friday night in Naperville.
Naperville Central (15-8, 8-3 DuPage Valley) had four players finish in double figures, paced by senior Mike Blaszczyk’s game-high 26 points, en route to putting up a season-high point total with its 85 points — the third time it has broken the 80-point barrier this season and the second time it has done so against Glenbard North.
But the Redhawks’ fortunes start with their junior center, Nick Czarnowski.
The 6-9, 225-pound Czarnowski recorded a double-double in following up Blaszczyk’s 26 with 23 points and pulling down 13 rebounds.
“Me and [Blaszczyk] both had a pretty good game against them the last time [in a 80-68 win at Glenbard North on Dec. 21] and we knew we would have to establish the post right away. Our guys did a great job,” Czarnowski said.
With both Blaszczyk and Czarnowski doing their thing, a pair of seniors — Nicky Lopez and Rob Suntken — added 10 points apiece for the Redhawks, who drilled nine three-pointers as a team.
Glenbard North got to within 39-31 midway through the third, but the Redhawks responded by closing the game out by outscoring the visitors 46-32 the rest of the way.
“It’s fun when we play like that and it’s fun to watch,” Naperville Central coach Pete Kramer said. “When we’re offensively playing like that, then you just want to play defense because you want to get back on the offensive end.”
Kramer stressed how well both junior guard Ryan Antony and Lopez continue to run the team. “This is more of an offensive-minded team. We continue to strive to get better on defense. I thought the third quarter was a big, big quarter for us. I thought we really did a really nice job at both ends.”
Leading by as many as 13 points in the first half, the Redhawks took a 30-22 lead into halftime.
Showing off the inside-outside balance it has used so effectively throughout different parts of the season, Czarnowski and Blaszczyk combined for 18 of Naperville Central’s 30 first-half points.
Czarnowski scored the first five points of the game as the Redhawks jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead before eventually taking an eight-point lead at the end of the first.
“They threw it into me and I thought, I mean, those first five points, that (entire) first quarter, I felt like I had control down there,” Czarnowski said.
Junior Kendall Holbert and junior Chavares Flanigan added 13 and 10 points for Glenbard North (8-12, 4-7 DuPage Valley).
“We didn’t have many answers for them [Friday] night, defensively. Obviously, in the score, they scored way too many points for us to get a W,” Glenbard North coach Joe Larson said. “So you gotta give them a lot of credit. They shot the ball well and they executed well.”