Tigers defeat Panthers in home opener


Nick Powell

Senior guard Demir Ashiru (right) defends an Oswego player during North’s 65-59 win over the Panthers on Dec 2.

Dylan Budd, Sports Editor

The Tigers’ boy’s basketball team defeated the Oswego Panthers 65-59 in their first home game of the season on Dec. 2. 

Although Oswego won the opening tip-off, junior forward Jeffrey Fleming scored the first four points after going two for two on the line and making a breakaway layup. 

The Tigers maintained small leads only for the Panthers to keep tying the score, but North found themselves trailing 15-13 to close the quarter after two Oswego free throws.

“When the horn sounded, [head coach Bob Krahulik] told the team, ‘the score is 2-0’,” junior forward Evan Czarnik said. “It’s a new quarter, a fresh start. We’re only down two, let’s keep going.”

The second quarter saw the Tigers retake the lead, starting with a momentum-gaining and-one by North’s captain, senior guard Demir Ashiru.

“[Ashiru] is a great athlete, but he’s an even better leader,” Krahulik said. “He’s done an outstanding job leading this team. It’s great to have a guy I’ve known for three years running the floor.”

The half ended with a 32-21 Tiger lead, and after halftime shows by North’s cheer and dance teams, the Tigers went into the second half looking to further cement their lead.

Oswego came out with adversity, however, putting the score within three, until the Tigers responded with an 8-0 run during a two-minute span, and North never looked back, keeping a sizable lead for the rest of the contest.

“As a team, we need to work on not fouling and moving our feet on defense,” Ashiru said. “That’s really what got them back in the game.”

Ashiru and Czarnik ended with double-digit points on the night, with 11 and 15, respectively.

“Every time [Czarnik] knocked down a three, it just gave us more and more energy,” Fleming said.

After this win, the Tigers will play the Indians at Minooka before returning home to play West Aurora and Normal West.

“Every night is gonna be a tough game in our conference,” Krahulik said. “I don’t know what to expect. Our conference is just so good, so we need to find ways to win those close games.”

The team is behind the coach, and understands the tough season ahead of them.

“If we keep up defensively, we should be able to keep up with our conference and keep our record above .500,” Fleming said. “We’re gonna have to fight for every single win.”