CHAMPAIGN — Nate Duckworth hit five 3-pointers Tuesday night and scored 24 points as Normal West High School's basketball team downed Champaign Central, 76-64, in a Big 12 Conference game.
Duckworth was 7 of 8 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, helping the Wildcats improved to 21-6 overall and finish 8-2 in the Big 12, one game behind champion Danville. Champaign Central fell to 17-8 and also ended 8-2 in the league.
West, ranked No. 5 in Class 4A, bounced back from a 62-49 home loss to Danville on Friday. The Wildcats got a lift in the second quarter from senior Drew Yonker, who scored all 11 of his points in the period.
"He hit a big three and made a couple of nice post moves," West coach Brian Cupples said. "Getting 11 points off the bench in that quarter was huge. Francis (Okoro) had eight so we had 19 points from our post players in that quarter."
The Wildcats outscored Champaign 25-12 in the pivotal second quarter. The 6-foot-9 Okoro finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds for West, which was 10 of 12 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.
Shea Cupples chipped in nine points and five assists for the Wildcats, who conclude the regular season Friday at Lincoln.
Champaign all-stater Tim Finke scored 16 points.
"To hold him to 16 is quite a job by our guys," Brian Cupples said. "He's a really good player. He had a lot of rebounds tonight. He's a handful.
"I've got great kids who are competitors and want to find a way to win. This is a tough place to come and get a win, especially after losing at home to Danville. Our guys showed a lot of grit."