With three wins under their belt, North traveled to Guilford for their first conference game of the season. North knew it would be a great game because Guilford returned their two best players, Tyler Knuth and Jack Holmstrom, they knew those two would have to be contained if they wanted to get their first conference win. And in the first half North did exactly that, after being down by three at the end of the first quarter they were able to get a 20-16 lead at halftime. That lead was built by Zach Reidenbach, who finished with 14 points, and North’s defense. They were able to hold Knuth and Holmstrom to just eight combined points in the half. In the second half, it was a very close game, neither team got up by more than seven at any time. North had the lead at times during the second half, but because of the constant lead changes, neither team could take control of the game. With 1:30 left in the game, the score was tied 39-39 when Knuth scored to take the lead. North was unable to score on the next possession, after having to foul North lost 45-39.
After a tough loss at Guilford, North hosted Freeport for their first home game of the season. Nothing during the game went as they expected, it started off with a slow first quarter, where North only scored six points. The second quarter was up and down but North was still only able to score 15 points in the first half. They got off to a better start in the second half, mainly because of Anthony Espenson’s scoring, he finished the game with 28 points. North was up 31-25 at the end of the third but Freeport made a run in the fourth and North was unable to recover from it. After having to foul multiple times at the end of regulation, North fell to Freeport 51-41.
North who was trying to get back on track, travelled to East for their third conference game of the season. They knew that East would be a tough game, but it got even harder without their leading scorer, Anthony Espenson. He was serving a one game suspension for receiving two technical fouls in the previous game. But even without Espenson, North battled with East throughout the first half. They were down six after the first quarter, and briefly took the lead in the second quarter. North was able to find scoring in places they hadn’t all year, they had nine players score for them. Zach Reidenbach was the leading scorer with nine, and Carson Blatchford followed him up with seven. Although North found some scoring, they still went into halftime down seven. And in the second half they started to run out of gas and East continued to make shots. North wasn’t able to keep up their scoring with East and the game eventually got out of reach for North. They ended up losing 63-41.
After a rough start to conference, North was looking to knock off Boylan for only the second time in school history. North needed to come out strong because if they gave Boylan too much momentum, Boylan was good enough to pull away very quickly. The first quarter was very close, as neither team got up by more than four. In the second quarter, Boylan opened up with a 7-0 run, down 21-12 North made a small run to end the first half and went into halftime down 24-18. In the third quarter, Boylan went on another run and stretched the lead to 11. But North was able to cut into the lead, mainly because of Anthony Espenson’s 22 points, Carson Blatchford’s 15 points which were all threes, and Zach Reidenbach’s 10 points. Even with all of North’s scoring, they still found themselves down 40-33 going into the fourth quarter. And with just under two minutes left in the game, North was still down seven. But after multiple defensive stops and Espenson, Blatchford and Reidenbach combining for eight points, North had the ball down two with 15 seconds left. And after moving the ball around, North got the ball to Reidenbach, who scored the game tying layup with one second left. Boylan called a timeout and had to go the length of the floor with the game tied 50-50 and one second left on the clock. North’s Kyle Kaempfer forced a high pass that ended up hitting the ceiling of the gym, this allowed North to take the ball out underneath their basket with one second still on the clock. After a broken play, Anthony Espenson caught the ball and tipped it in for the 52-50 win. North fans stormed the court to celebrate North beating Boylan for only the second time in school history.
After the big win against Boylan, North had another big game as they hosted Jefferson. North fell behind early in the first, mainly due to their lack of offense. They ended the first quarter down, 13-6. The second quarter started out similarly to the first, but North was able to close the half on a run and went into halftime down 28-19. North picked up their play on offense, Anthony Espenson and Zach Reidenbach combined for 35 points in the game. Kyle Kaempfer and Matt Bucher also combined for 17 points in the game. North’s scoring allowed them to get back into the game, they were just a few defensive stops away from taking the lead in the fourth quarter. North cut the lead down to four but struggled to get stops when they needed them most. Even with the scoring for Espenson and Reidenbach, North still fell short 59-54.
Looking to get back on track, North headed across town to Belvidere. Both teams had very slow starts to the game on offense. The game was tied 4-4 after the first quarter after neither team was able to get anything on offense to go. And the struggles continued into the second quarter as neither team could find a rhythm, North went into halftime up 12-10. Both teams continued to struggle in the third quarter, and North went into the fourth quarter up 19-18. They started to find their rhythm in the fourth quarter and got scoring from Anthony Espenson, Zach Reidenbach, and Kyle Kaempfer. The three of them combined for 21 points in the game. North also got two timely baskets from Donnavyn Sayles. North was able to stretch the lead and eventually win 38-28.
North hosts Auburn on January 8, and travels to Harlem on January 10.