John Konchar came into the season filled with ambition and purpose.
The West Chicago 6-5 senior forward showed a game that matches the hype and developing reputation.
"He is the best player we have seen this year," St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said.
"I don't mean just the best player we have played against, but the best player of all the teams we've seen, and we've seen a lot of teams."
Konchar scored 45 points and grabbed 15 rebounds and added eight assists and three blocked shots as the visiting Wildcats scored the opening 11 points and cruised past the North Stars 89-82 in an Upstate Eight crossover Thursday night in St. Charles.
He also made history when he drilled a three-pointer from the left baseline with just over seven minutes in the second quarter that broke the school's all-time scoring record, a mark held by his coach, Bill Recchia.
"I never thought I'd get the (record) at the start of the season," he said.
West Chicago hit five of its first six shots in establishing the early dominance.
"We hit shots at the start," Konchar said.
It proved contagious.
Konchar had other 40-point games this year, but this was his most complete performance of the year. He hit 9-of-13 shots in the first half and drained three three-pointers in scoring 27 points that propelled the Wildcats (16-10) to an impressive 45-32 lead at the break.
"Given the quality of the opponent and being on the road in a tough gym to play in, I'd say this was my best game of the year," he said.
During one smoldering stretch of the first half, Konchar scored 15 of the Wildcats' 18 points on a dazzling variety of step back three-pointers, drives, post ups and a spectacular, twisting drive for a circus shot.
"He really thinks the game through and anticipates the game very well," Poulin said.
Star senior North Stars' guard Alec Goetz tried vainly to keep pace with Konchar. He hit four three-pointers in scoring 14 of his team-high 31 points in the first half. Junior guard Jake Ludwing scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter as the North Stars (16-9) engineered a comeback, slicing a 20-point disadvantage to single digits in the final minute.
Konchar was just as effective as a facilitator for his teammates as sophomore guard Michael Bibbs drilled three three-pointers in contributing 18 points for the Wildcats. Mitchell Henke and reserve guard Marco Lomibao each scored 10 points.
"We are the highest scoring team in the DuPage Valley, and John's is so good at finding the open shooters and tonight, we made shots," Recchia said.
Jack Callaghan added 16 points for the North Stars.
"They came out focused to win a basketball game, and knock us out right away," Poulin said.