By Chris Johnson


The Belvidere North Blue Thunder faced the Harlem Huskies on Wednesday, Dec. 7 knowing they had some work to do if they wanted to find ways to influence the outcome in the race for the NIC-10 title.

It hasn’t been the ideal start for Belvidere North as they found themselves falling into trouble during the season-opening tip-off tournament in Crystal Lake. They played the full match but didn’t have the firepower to stay with some of the larger schools from northeastern Illinois.

A Friday, Dec. 2 loss to the Hononegah Indians was recorded in the books, but the effort put on the floor highlighted the potential that still waits for Blue Thunder. They stayed with the 5-1 Indians into the final minutes and allowed their defense to take control late. Hononegah won 61-58.

After the host Indians grabbed a six-point lead after the first quarter of play, 23-17, Blue Thunder came back and bettered the Hononegah total to take the lead at the half by two, 37-35. The Indians put 15 points on the board in the third frame as Belvidere North was kept in check with just 13.

In the final period, Blue Thunder defense denied chance after chance, but Hononegah offense found a way to get just enough to survive. The Indians scored 11 points in the fourth quarter and held Belvidere North to just eight. However, the battles in the conference will continue this season.

The NIC-10 clash with Harlem on Wednesday, Dec. 10 gave Belvidere North the chance to see what they could do against another perennial conference challenger. The conference stretch continued into this Friday’s match at home against the Guilford Vikings.

Two more NIC-10 matches will wait for Belvidere North before they close down the 2016 portion of the winter calendar. A game at Freeport on Wednesday, Dec. 14 precedes a Saturday, Dec. 17 match with Rockford East.

There will be a bit of a break heading over the Christmas holiday and into the New Year. Rockford Boylan will wait for Belvidere North when classes resume for the next semester in 2017. The warm-up with Boylan gives Blue Thunder the chance to take on the Auburn Knights with a lot of experience behind them.

By the Wednesday, Jan. 11 meeting at Auburn High School, Belvidere North will have had to play through Hononegah, Harlem, Boylan and the host Knights.

The conference race isn’t over by any means. It is just a little more challenging for the Blue Thunder as they inch closer to finding a solid win-streak to support their season.


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