Dominic Adduci and Patrick Woods will forever hold fond memories of their basketball debuts at St. Charles East.
Adduci, a sophomore guard who transferred from Wheaton Academy, drained four 3-pointers on the way to a 16-point effort while helping lead the Saints (1-0) to a convincing 64-34 victory over East Aurora (0-1) in Monday night's opening round of the 53rd annual St. Charles East/Ron Johnson Thanksgiving Tournament.
Ahead 30-21 at halftime, the Saints turned the game into a rout by outscoring the Tomcats 34-13 in the second half of Woods' first game as St. Charles East head coach.
"It's one game but it's a great game when you win by 30," said Woods. "East Aurora is a program known for having solid teams year in and year out, so any time you can get a win like that against them it's a good thing.
"We'll take a win like that on opening night any day of the week."
Meanwhile, Adduci canned 5 of 7 shots from the field while enjoying his first game as a Saint.
"It was great, new coach and everything -- it was awesome," said Adduci. "Coach (Woods) implemented a lot of things that helped everybody's game. I feel great. The fans are great, the teachers are excellent, and the coach is awesome."
"Dom's definitely a great addition," said Woods. "He plays a lot of AAU basketball in the off-season so he is used to seeing a lot of competition at a high level. His poise was great out there tonight and he's just going to get better."
Junior Kendall Stephens, starting at the forward position, scored a game-high 17 points with 6 blocked shots and 6 rebounds, while senior forward Johnny Hondlik added 9 points, a team-leading 12 rebounds and 4 steals.
Adduci, Stephens and Michael Woods combined for four 3-pointers as the Saints went on a 14-4 surge in the second quarter to open a 30-16 lead with 2:59 remaining before halftime.
After East Aurora pulled to within 7 at 34-27 early in the third quarter, the Saints put the game away by scoring 22 of the next 27 points.
While the Saints connected on nine 3-pointers and out-rebounded the Tomcats 38-36, it was their defensive effort that stood out. In addition to blocking 10 shots, the Saints collected 18 steals and held East Aurora to just 2 fourth-quarter points.
"Any time we hold a team to 34 points, the chances of us winning are pretty good," said Woods. "For only working with them for two weeks, I thought we did some really good things out there."
Charlie Fisher chipped in with 7 points, while Jimmy Liss and Brent Kage came off the bench to add 5 points each.
Larry Reynolds had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Tomcats.
"Overall, I'm happy with the outcome," said Woods. "We know we've got to come back tomorrow and start getting ready for Schaumburg."
In other tournament action, junior center Jimmy Lundquist poured in a game-high 24 points, including six 3-pointers, to rally Schaumburg past St. Joseph 55-49.
Trailing 35-32 after 3 quarters, the Saxons outscored the Chargers 23-14 down the stretch to pull out the victory. Michael Mallett added 11 points, while Kyle Bolger had 8 points.
Avery Harmon and Paul Turner had 14 and 12 points, respectively, for St. Joseph.