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Fighting adversity, Falcons pleased with first half

WHEATON – Wheaton North’s boys basketball team hasn’t been immune to the injury bug this winter, with three different important cogs having already missed games.

But after splitting their four games at the recently competed Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament, the Falcons have found a way to keep their head above water with an overall record of 8-4 heading into 2014.

“I think we are happy with the start,” Wheaton North coach Dave Brackmann said. “We have dealt with adversity, with three significant guys missing time. We are still without Matt Biegalski [sprained ankle] for a little while longer.

“It’s good that other guys have stepped up. We talked before the season about how we do have some depth, and it’s good to be able to rely on that a bit.”

As Wheaton North gets closer to full health, Brackmann believes the best days are still ahead for his team.

“We still think we can get better,” he said. “We haven’t played our best basketball yet. We haven’t had our top 10 that we envisioned for any game yet. Hopefully we will have that, though a lot of teams are battling [injuries], it’s not uncommon. But hopefully we get everyone back and have a good second half.”

One player who has raised his level of play is junior center Jake Heggeland, who was named to the all-tournament team at York.

“He has gotten progressively better,” Brackmann said. “He started the year solidly, don’t get me wrong. But he has really worked his way into basketball mode. He had a huge game against LT [at the Tosh with 28 points and 10 rebounds].

“He has been rebounding the ball, blocking shots, providing defense inside. And his offense is coming around. He can score inside, and with his mid-range jumper, that makes him tough to guard.”

After 10 days off, Wheaton North returns to the court with a pair of DuPage Valley Conference games this weekend, starting tomorrow night against Glenbard East. West Aurora looms on Saturday.

“It’s a big weekend,” Brackmann said. “Glenbard East is talented, though their record might not show it. They have one of the best players in the conference in Jaron Hall. They are young but they have talent. And going to West Aurora on Saturday will be a major challenge.

“That’s how it is going to be week in and week out now that we are in the core of the DVC season. We want to be playing in games that are big and mean something. We have to play well the next month to keep that happening.”

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