It was apparent throughout Kapaun Mount Carmel's 72-56 home victory over North on Thursday night that the two boys teams wanted to play different styles of basketball.
For the first quarter, North's high-flying aerial assault won. But for the final three, Kapaun's pound-it-inside approach triumphed.
The win fit Kapaun coach Bernie Pearson's definition of the ideal game, which is "fight through adversity, stay with our game plan, wear them down in the end, and get the victory."
For North, it was another example of how erratic it can be. A 30-19 lead quickly gave way once the Crusaders closed the half on a 20-3 run that sent North spiraling.
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"They took it to us defensively and knocked us back on our heels," North coach Gary Squires said. "They pushed us out of our comfort zone, as far as shooting the ball. We didn't have a very good inside game, they wouldn't let us."
So it's a wonder how Kapaun, so steady and consistent, and the unpredictable Redskins after 20 games finished with identical 12-8 records with the same 9-7 mark in City League play.
For starters, this game was the season abbreviated for each team.
North once again played the part of the streaky team — opening the game making more than half its shots, then finishing the game 10 of 40.
It resembled the Redskins' season, which has featured seven streaks of at least two games won or lost.
On the other end of the spectrum is Kapaun, which finished the month of February with a 4-3 record. Even when North struck early, the Crusaders never panicked.
"We needed to not give up," Kapaun's Keaton Lewis said. "We didn't get discouraged when we were down 11 and we got a couple of stops and that helped us spark a comeback."
Lewis helped stabilize Kapaun by coming off the bench to make six of his seven first-half shots for 15 of his game-high 24 points.
As each team eyes sub-state play, the records are where the similarities end. While no one knows what to expect from North, the Crusaders provide the same old consistent product.
"We're just trying to run with it and do the best we can," Pearson said.
North (12-8, 9-7) 21 12 8 15 — 56 Kapaun (12-8, 9-7) 16 23 16 17 — 72
NORTH: Wright 0 0-0 0, Frankamp 5 2-2 14, Brist. White 7 3-5 19, Bris. White 5 1-2 11, Robertson 4 4-4 12. Totals 21 (4) 10-13 56.
KAPAUN: Knox 1 1-2 3, Laveist 4 2-2 11, Small 6 2-3 14, Reynolds 0 4-6 4, Martin 2 5-6 9, Lewis 9 3-7 24, Floyd 3 1-1 7. Totals 25 (4) 20-27 72.