Boys Basketball: Vikings Hand Spartans First Conference Loss
Niles North got revenge for its close loss in Northbrook by beating Glenbrook North 48-44.
Last time Niles North and Glenbrook met on the court, the game was one to remember. Friday night's game didn’t come down to a buzzer beater, but it still included an exciting conclusion.
The Vikings came back from down nine at halftime to pick up a statement win, 48-44, against the visiting Spartans.
The win keeps Niles North (13-5, 4-2) alive in the Central Suburban League North title race, putting them a game behind the Spartans (14-3, 5-1). It’s also the first time the Vikings have defeated GBN in boys basketball since 1998. Considering these conference foes play twice a year, that’s quite the streak.
With all that in mind, it’s more impressive that Niles North won despite leading scorer Abdel Nader having foul trouble and shooting just 1-8 in the first half.
Nader picked up his second foul with 3:05 left in the first quarter and the Spartans made a run soon after he went to the bench to build a 17-6 lead. Sophomore Malachi Nix kept the Vikings in the game by scoring six straight points.
“I just kept playing the same,” said Nix, who had a game-high 17 points. “I knew I had to step it up a little bit, but I had to just keep playing my game and that helped us, I think.”
Down 23-14 at halftime, Niles North felt fortunate to be within striking distance despite shooting poorly.
“We felt good,” Vikings’ coach Glenn Olson said. “Our emphasis at halftime was trust what we want to do, trust the game plan. Stay consistent, stay confident shooting the basketball.”
The second half was a complete and sudden turnaround. GBN came out flat and a quick steal and dunk by Abdel Nader to open the third quarter got the home crowd into it and changed the game.
The Vikings scored the first nine points of the second half to tie the game and had the Spartans reeling.
“We lost the game at the start of the second half,” GBN coach David Weber said. “I think they thought it was going to be easy.”
Niles North kept the defensive intensity up and the Spartans only scored six points in the third quarter. The Vikings led 33-29 after the quarter.
The fourth quarter went back and forth until the final minute, when the Vikings showed they wanted it more. Weber said they were tougher.
“We didn’t get loose balls at the end of the game,” Weber said. There were loose ball rebounds that they just outfought us for.”
Niles North scored six straight to go up 44-39 late in the fourth and held off GBN from there.
Nader, who finished with 15 points, called it the biggest win since he’s been at Niles North. He didn’t light up the scoreboard like the last time these two teams met, when he scored 49, but he hit the big shots.
“I just knew I had to keep shooting,” Nader said. “Thankfully some of them went down.”
Peter Szostak led the Spartans with 10 points. Joey Prince had eight and Andrew McAuliffe scored seven.
Another shooter, GBN’s Tommy Hanrahan, was held scoreless. Olson said he had his team defend him a little differently and that was the only difference from when the teams played in Northbrook.
“They got up on him,” Weber said. “They were tough on him. We had a hard time getting into our offense. That was the big thing. Their pressure was so hard we couldn’t run any of our plays. Any time we ran a play it was a turnover. I just gave up. I just said let’s run our motion.”
The Spartans have a week to recover before hosting Deerfield in another conference game.