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Elgin's boys basketball team will certainly have better offensive efforts than the one it had Wednesday night.
But the Maroons were able to advance to the Class 4A Dundee-Crown sectional final with tough, hard-nosed, pressure defense.
Limiting McHenry to 2 free throws in the second quarter and 20 points in the final three quarters, Elgin was able to pull out a hard-fought 43-34 win over the Warriors in a semifinal game in Carpentersville.
"We didn't play very good defense the first quarter, but the last three quarters we played well at the defensive end," said Elgin coach Mike Sitter. "On offense, we settled for too many jump shots. It wasn't one of our best performances. We will have to play much better Friday night against (Rockford) Auburn."
The Maroons (26-3) will play the Knights (29-2) for the sectional crown Friday at 7:30 p.m. The winner advances to next Tuesday's NIU supersectional to take on the Barrington sectional winner, either Warren or Mundelein.
Leading 15-14 after one quarter Wednesday, the Maroons really amped up the Defensive intensity in the second quarter. McHenry (12-16), which was 0-for-8 from the field and turned the ball over six times, managed only 2 free throws from Robert Tonyan in the quarter.
Elgin also struggled from the floor in the second quarter, connecting on only 3-of-9 shots in scoring 8 points. Kory Brown scored 5 points in the quarter as Elgin led 23-16 at halftime.
The Maroons seized control of the game by scoring the first 7 points of the third. Arie Williams canned a long 3-pointer and Brown scored 4 points including a 3-pointer as Elgin doubled its halftime lead to 14, 30-16, with 5:18 left in the third quarter.
Led by 3 3-pointers from Jeff Nicholls the Warriors got to within 4 of the Maroons, 34-30, with 4:54 left but couldn't get any closer. Elgin closed out the Warriors with a 6-0 run as Brown and Williams canned 2 free throws each and Cortez Scott scored on a layup to give Elgin a 40-30 lead with 1:08 left.
Brown paced Elgin with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.
"The slow down pace of the game was frustrating at times, but we prepare for anything," said Brown. "We are always ready to run our sets and plays. My shots weren't falling tonight, but I take a lot of pride in my defense. We are excited we are playing for the sectional championship on Friday."
Williams backed Brown with 10 points. Tonyan led McHenry with 13 points and 8 rebounds. Nicholls scored 12 for the Warriors on 4 3-pointers.