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Article updated: 11/24/2010 11:51 PM
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St. Charles East can't dig out of early hole
 

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St. Charles East can't dig out of early hole

When you're facing the likes of perennial powers St. Joseph, Proviso East, Hales Franciscan, East Aurora and Downers Grove South, you can't afford to have a bad quarter.

When you struggle for an entire half, your chances to pull out a victory are diminished even more.

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St. Charles East (0-2) only managed to score 5 baskets through the first 16 minutes while falling behind 24-14 at halftime of Wednesday night's game against St. Joseph (1-1).

Although the Saints staged a fourth-quarter rally, their comeback hopes fell short during a 56-51 loss to the Chargers in the second round of the 52nd annual Ron Johnson/St. Charles East Thanksgiving Tournament.

"We were real disappointed with the first half obviously, scoring 14 points," said Saints coach Brian Clodi, whose team committed 14 first-half turnovers, including 9 in the opening quarter.

"We were tentative," added the coach. "The timing was off and there was no flow. We just couldn't get in any kind of a rhythm offensively."

St. Joseph enjoyed late runs in both the first and second quarters while building its double-digit halftime advantage.

After a 3-pointer by Dom Urso tied the score at 8, Chargers guard William Gates (8 points) capped a 7-0 run with a 3-pointer and 12-foot jumper to make it 15-8 after one quarter.

Andrew Carrano's putback cut the deficit to 17-14 with 3:38 left before halftime but the Chargers scored the final 7 points of the quarter.

"The guys come back to us (in the huddle) and I think they're just a little timid right now," said Clodi. "There's nothing to be timid about. We want them to be aggressive. We're playing a little bit tight right now."

Sophomore guard Kendall Stephens (13 points, 4 steals) and junior forward Johnny Hondlik fueled the Saints' second-half rally, combining for 25 of the team's 37 points.

St. Charles East, which trailed 37-29 after three quarters, pulled within 6 on four different occasions in the final period before Charlie Fisher's 3-pointer from the top of the key made it 48-43 with 3:51 remaining.

But the Chargers answered every St. Charles East challenge, hitting their first 5 field-goal attempts and making 7-of-9 free throws in the fourth quarter.

"I'm real proud of making it a game and having a chance in the fourth quarter," said Clodi. "But our kids are also learning how much a possession means. A stupid turnover here, no box out there there's no margin for that against a great team like St. Joe's."

Hondlik led the Saints with 17 points and 7 rebounds.

"We've got to come out with the same intensity we had in the fourth quarter," said Hondlik.

Joe Edwards paced the Chargers with 21 points.

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