North Crushes 2019 Crosstown Classic Challenge

Anna Hulstedt, Features Editor

      Ever since the opening of Belvidere North in 2007, athletic competitions and games of any type against Belvidere have increased in intensity and importance for either team. The victors get to prove that their side of town is best, and no one represented our school better than both the girls and boys basketball programs at the Crosstown Classic event held in North’s gym all day long on Saturday, January 5.

      The Crosstown Classic event involves six Belvidere versus Belvidere North games all in one day. The girls’ freshman team starts, followed by the boys’ freshman team. This pattern follows for the sophomore and varsity games that makes it an important day of basketball for both sides of Belvidere.

      The girls’ freshman team defeated Belvidere by a score of 28 to 15, followed by a victory for the boys’ freshman team. The girls sophomore team won with a score of 39-14. The sophomore boys also came out victorious, edging out Belvidere by three points, 52-49.

Sportsfan Radio 1330, a local sports radio network, was present to broadcast the varsity games at the end of the night. Student sections from both high schools were present to cheer on their teams. North’s JV dance team performed during halftime at the girls’ varsity game and varsity performed a throwback music routine for the boys game halftime. Overall, the gym was packed between all of the teams, students, parents, and Belvidere sports fans from all across town. In addition, coaches, athletes, and parents from the varsity team were invited to Belvidere’s new Coaches Corner Bar and Grill for free appetizers and awards.

      The girls’ varsity team got off to a great start with a 14-0 run, fueled by three-pointers from Natalie Horgan (‘21) and Katie Luna (‘20), a couple baskets from Ashlyn Smith (‘19), and a fast break layup from Brianna Lake (‘19). Belvidere came back to almost take the lead in the second quarter when the score was 19-15, but North relied on their defense to provide fast break opportunities to grow their lead before halftime, ending on a basket from Lake to keep North up 16 points at halftime, with the score being 33-17.

      After the half, North continued to earn points from their defense, continuing the lead further. In the third, the lead increased to 20 points with a three-point basket from Lake. As the third came to a close, Belvidere came back to make it a ten point game, 40-30. In the fourth, Belvidere came up short and North took the victory with a score of 56-36.

      “We look forward to this game all season long, and winning against Belvidere is always exciting. The game becomes a lot more enjoyable when there is a crowd constantly cheering you on,” said Horgan.

      The boys game followed the girls game, in which North started out strong with the first basket from John Carlson (‘20) and Matthew Bucher (‘20) with some buckets at the rim. North led by more than ten at the half. In the second half, North pulled away from Belvidere with the help of Bucher, Zach Reidenbach (‘20), Carlson, and Anthony Espensen (‘20). In the end, Belvidere’s efforts were just not enough to defeat North’s young team of juniors, the game’s final score was 39-22.

      “It’s always a good feeling beating your biggest rivals, playing them is really fun,” said Reidenbach.

      The next game for the boys will be at Harlem on Friday, January 11 at 7:00 pm, and the girls will play Hononegah at home on Saturday, January 12 at 2:30 pm.