Sophomore Keith Hayes had just scored 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting in Glenbard West's 60-39 victory against cross-town rival Glenbard South on Tuesday night, and coach Tim Hoder took the news in stride.
"That's just bad coaching," Hoder said jokingly about Hayes' 4 missed shots in the District 87 Tournament game at Glenbard West. "I'll call some better plays for him. Obviously, I've got to run some better stuff for him."
Actually, the Hilltoppers' opponents this season probably will count on more plays for Hayes, even when Glenbard West gets back to full strength.
The Hilltoppers played just two seniors, with point guard Jeff Levesque nursing a lingering foot injury and several players getting ready for the Class 7A football championship game this Saturday in Champaign. Levesque played in Monday's victory against Glenbard North in the round-robin tournament but opted to sit Tuesday. Another doctor's visit awaits.
"We've got to figure out what the best option is for him," Hoder said of Levesque. "I don't want him to be limping through the whole season, his senior year."
He wasn't needed Tuesday. Hayes and Co. couldn't be stopped.
"Two and oh, waiting on football kids, I'm pleased with that," Hoder said, dead serious this time.
The Hilltoppers scored the final six points of the first quarter to pull away to a 17-12 lead that jumped to 31-19 by halftime. Glenbard South never recovered.
Turnovers, 21 of them, were a problem for the Raiders (0-2).
"We've got to learn how to take care of the basketball," Raiders coach Wade Hardtke said. "I thought it was even more than 21. We had every bit as many if not more last night (in a loss to Glenbard East). Certainly, our inexperience has shown the first two games. I'm not sure there is a quick fix. We've tried a couple of different things. Right now I think the main thing is it's a big jump from sophomore to varsity and the speed and physicalness."
The Hilltoppers committed 16 turnovers.
"We turned it over more than I'd like, kind of got loose with the ball," Hoder said. "But the kids are playing hard out there, competing."
Chaun Rickette led the Raiders with 12 points, and John Marks added 9.
Senior Dakiria Washington and junior Corey Davis added 10 points apiece for the Hilltoppers. Hayes was 6 of 7 from 3-point range.
"If he misses some of those shots it's a different game, but when he's feeling it ... when somebody has a night like that it makes it hard for the other team," Hoder said.
The Hilltoppers host Glenbard East at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the tournament finale, with both teams still undefeated.