There was some question on how Eau Claire North would respond after its emotional overtime win over La Crosse Central last Friday.
No sweat. But it took a while.
“We don’t worry about what’s happened in the past,” said Dalton Banks, who led all scorers Tuesday night with 21 points. “That was no problem. We came ready to play.”
Coach Todd Marks agreed.
“Every game and every practice, these kids come out and compete,” he said. “I don’t know if we started flat, but we picked it up enough. Our execution got better as the game went along.”
The result saw the Huskies bolt from a slim 28-26 halftime lead to bury Holmen 71-49 at the Doghouse with a 43-point second half that came on 72-percent shooting from the field.
“We picked up the intensity, moved the ball better and got better shots,” was Marks’ explanation of the Huskies explosion. “I thought the energy level picked up in the last eight minutes of the first half.”
Banks was the key man in the comeback that saw Holmen lead in the final four minutes of the first half.
He scored nine of his points in the first four minutes of the second half and after he teamed with Jack Kron for back-to-back 3-pointers, the Huskies built their lead to 42-30 and never looked back.
“I felt good,”Banks said. ‘I didn’t play my best game Friday, so I wanted to show my teammates that I could really help them,”
He had good support. Noah Hanson drilled in 18 and Kron, although fighting an illness, added 15 while nine Huskies in all got into the scoring column.
“Dalton was really in an aggressive mode,” Marks said. “He let the game come to him in the second half.”
Holmen, a young team with only three seniors, was impressive in the first half and battled North on even terms, even leading by as many as four points at one stage.
“We knew that their guard play was really good,” Marks said. “They moved the ball, got good shots and we were a step slow.”
James Gillespie scored 12 and Craig Newsome Jr. 11 to lead the Vikings, who were simply overwhelmed by the second-half Huskies barrage.
North wound up shooting 59 percent from the floor for the game and was charged with just five turnovers to 12 for Holmen.
“We had some players who made little plays that were big plays,” Banks said. “That sparked us.”