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St. Charles North finishes regular season with win over Geneva – Shaw Local

GENEVA – Late last month, St. Charles North was stuck in a downward spiral.

The North Stars closed out January with a flurry of losses.

In their first game of February, St. Charles North senior forward Jake Furtney took matters into his own hands – literally.

“I switched up my free throw routine before the St. Charles East game, and that’s when it really started to click,” Furtney said of his solid showing from the stripe in a double-digit win over St. Charles East. “I just changed it, more of putting a hitch in it, like I’m going into my shooting pocket. It just helped me a lot.”

That’s also when the North Stars started to turn their season around.

Furtney was swishing his free throws again on Wednesday, knocking down all eight attempts to finish with 20 points in a 50-46 victory over Geneva in DuKane Conference action.

“The guys are playing well at the right time,” St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said. “We didn’t give up on our 1-3-1 zone that we put in earlier this season. We kept working on it every day in practice. The turning point has been our attention to detail on defense. We’re also sharing the ball a lot more offensively. I think we’ve developed confidence at the right time.”

St. Charles North senior forward Parker Reinke added 19 points, including seven in the fourth quarter to hold off a late push by the Vikings in part due to the hot shooting of junior guard Jack Hatton.

“We all knew this game was going to be big for us for the playoffs,” Reinke said. “We all worked hard today and it showed. It’s fun when me and Jake are both hitting our shots. This is big for us. We’re starting to peak at the right time. I feel it will help us and get us momentum for the playoffs at Batavia.”

The North Stars (11-17, 4-10) evened up the season series with the Vikings (16-13, 6-8), and now won four times in their last six games. As a team, the North Stars followed Furtney’s lead, hitting 18-of-19 attempts from the free throw line. Furtney, an all-state tight end who committed to play football for Illinois as a preferred walk-on last month, scored on a key three-point play to hand his team a 46-42 lead with 55.5 seconds left. Reinke added two late free throws to ice the victory.

“I’m excited to hit (them) again today and that’s probably what helped us seal the game for us since our free throw shooting was so good today,” Furtney said. “I’m glad we got the win going into the playoffs for momentum. I’m excited to see what we do.”

The Vikings were stung by foul troubles, but Hatton nearly led the Vikings to a thrilling comeback win, burying three 3-pointers in a 53-second span in the final two minutes of the game to end with 19 points.

“I think late in the game I just kept shooting because I’m a shooter and started hitting them, but it was a little too late,” Hatton said. “I wish I could’ve hit them earlier.”

The Vikings, who host Minooka on Thursday at 7 p.m. to close out the regular season, picked up nine points from Hudson Kirby.

“We didn’t shoot well but we had some good looks,” Geneva coach Scott Hennig said. “The biggest concern was our energy. I didn’t think we played very hard from the get-go. We’ve been playing well, but it was disappointing. I’ll take some of the blame. Credit to them for being ready to go. They shot outstanding from the free throw line.

“Jack has been one of our best players all year. He’s one of the best players in the conference. They did a good job on him early on. I want him to be more aggressive in terms of attacking gaps and shooting the ball. He got into foul trouble. We just didn’t play well enough to win tonight.”

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