Eau Claire North had its hands full in an intense offensive struggle with D.C. Everest.
But the Huskies got in the last outburst. And it was a dandy.
Breaking from a one-point lead with less than 11 minutes to go, North stormed the court to score the next 27 points and walked away with a 79-55 win Friday night at the Doghouse.
And just how did they do it?
Defense. According to Carter Hesselman and North coach Todd Marks.
“We locked down on defense and that sparked the offense,” said Hesselman, who contributed three 3-point baskets in the win. “It seems like every game, we’ve picked up the defense and that’s led to offense.”
The stats sheet bears him out. The Evergreens were charged with just four turnovers in the first half but were guilty of 12 in the second half under the pressure of the North defense.
“Our transition defense in that stretch was just terrible,” said Everest coach George Bouldin. “That’s what killed us. We got out-hustled and out-rebounded.”
Once again, the Huskies were led by Dalton Banks, who scored 30 points and was credited with 11 assists and nine rebounds.
“Banks is a tough matchup,” Bouldin said. “He does things at a college level and is a handful to deal with.”
Banks, who sat out time in the first half with foul trouble, scored seven points and passed off for many more during the winning stretch.
“In the second half, the tips and turnovers allowed Dalton to get in the open floor,” Marks said. “You can credit him for a lot of those turnovers.”
And in the open floor, who knows what’s going to happen, according to Hesselman.
“You just never really know what he’s going to do,” Hesselman said. “He’s just a fun player to play with.”
Everest, a quick, aggressive and good shooting team, came into the game unbeaten in three games with a lineup of only two seniors and it looked like it would go to the wire before North’s winning surge.
“It was very high intensity,” Bouldin said. “It was played at tournament atmosphere with a high level of competition.”
North had other standouts to go along with Banks. Bennett Mayer was a key player down the stretch, scoring 15 of his 17 points in the second half.
“He runs the floor well,” Marks said. “He knows if he gets open, Banks will get him the ball.”
Besides Hesselman, Chad Kron, Ashton Kallstrom and Luke Warren hit key shots while Preston Dorn was again a big factor on defense.
Everest got out to an early lead and by as much as nine points before Kallstrom hit four points just before halftime for the 35-34 lead. It was still a one-point game early in the second before the Husky explosion.
Ethan Ostrowski, a 6-3 junior, led the Evergreens with 21 points and 5-10 senior Zion Turner added 15.
It was the fourth straight win for the Huskies, who host New Richmond Monday night.
Eau Claire NORTH 79, D.C. EVEREST 55
D.C. Everest — FGM-FGA FTM-FTA TP: Zion Turner 6-15 0-0 15, Alec Stuedemann 3-12 2-2 8, Ethan Ostrowski 9-11 2-4 21, Jake Brodhagen 0-1 0-0 0, Keaton Edwards 1-1 0-0 2, Cade Sivertson 1-2 0-0 2, Cooper Bradfish 0-0 2-2 2, Colton Kielman 1-3 0-0 3, Brayden Kinderman 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 22-45 6-8 55.
North – Bennett Mayer 8-11 0-2 17, Dalton Banks 13-26 1-1 30, Preston Dorn 0-2 3-6 3, Chad Kron 3-8 1-1 8, Carter Hesselman 3-4 0-0 9, Ashton Kallstrom 3-4 1-2 7, Jacob Fisher 0-1 0-0 0, Luke Warren 2-6 0-0 5, Jarret Loe 0-1 0-0 0, Aaron Martin 0-0 0-0 0, Elyjah Johnson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-63 6-12 79.
Halftime: North 35-34. 3-point goals: DCE 4-11 (Turner 3-6, Kielman 1-1, Brodhagen 0-1, Stuedemann 0-3), North 9-22 (Hesselman 3-4, Banks 3-6, Mayer 1-1, Kron 1-4, Warren 1-4, Dorn 0-1, Kallstrom 0-1, Fisher 0-1). Rebounds: DCE 29 (Ostrowski 6), North 33 (Mayer 9, Banks 9). Assists: DCE 12 (Turner 6). North 21 (Banks 11). Total fouls: DCE 14, North 8. Turnovers: DCE 16, North 8. Officials: Nick Weisenbeck, Casey Eckardt, Mike DeWyre. Records: DCE 3-1. North 4-0.