St. Charles North buckles down on Nathan Valantine, beats Geneva

St. Charles North buckles down on Nathan Valantine, beats Geneva

St. Charles North’s Ethan Marlowe, facing, gets ready to head back onto the court as the North Stars play Geneva. | Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Jimmy Durocher led St. Charles North with 17 points and Nick DeMarco added 10 points and five rebounds.

A few weeks ago Geneva senior Nathan Valentine scored 33 of the Vikings’ 40 points in a win against St. Charles North. He drained nine three-pointers, including thee game-winner with two seconds left.

So there was zero doubt what the North Stars would be focusing on in the rematch. The defensive focus worked so well that Geneva didn’t even score in the first quarter and St. Charles North went on to win 47-42.

“The main focus was to make [Valentine] work and make him work just to get the ball,” North stars coach Tom Poulin said. “Credit Geneva because they battled and they stayed right in the game until the end. We’re still figuring out how to win and how to close but we are learning. A lot of this will pay off down the road next year.”

Jimmy Durocher led St. Charles North (7-4, 6-4 DuKane) with 17 points and Nick DeMarco added 10 points and five rebounds. Ethan Marlowe, a promising, 6-8 junior, finished with nine points and nine rebounds.

“All of our guys can shoot,” Poulin said. “They didn’t shoot real well tonight but just the threat of [Marlowe] inside opened up a lot.”

Valentine was far from totally stopped though. The crafty Illinois Wesleyan recruit combined with senior Luke Engebretson to get the Vikings (7-5, 5-5) back in the game in the third quarter.

“There focus is getting the ball in Nathan’s hands and we were just trying to tag him the whole game, face guard him going over ball screens and make those adjustments from the last game,” Marlowe said.

Engebretson drained three three-pointers in the third and Valentine scored four points and assisted on five in the final two minutes of the frame. Geneva led 31-30 after three quarters. But the North Stars opened the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run and never looked back.

Watch the final minute of St. Charles North at Geneva:

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