Even with his team up 2 points after the first quarter, Harvest Christian boys basketball coach Jeff Boldog huddled his group and gave them a verbal barrage of sorts after the Lions had turned it over 4 times and missed 11 of their first 13 shots.
"I just really challenged them to step up and play the way that they can play," Boldog said. "We talk about five guys out on the floor working together doing their job. I just challenged each guy to 'do your job. You do your job and look at each other and do your job,' and they just took it to heart and went with it and it was good."
His Lions were receptive, especially forward John Vislisel, who dropped 29 of his game-high 31 points from the second quarter on to help the Lions cruise past Faith Lutheran 68-30 in the 6th annual Warrior Thanksgiving Classic at Westminster Christian in Elgin Friday afternoon.
In Boldog's first win at Harvest, the Lions (1-2) outscored the Saints 20-11 in the second quarter and 38-11 in the second half and watched Vislisel outscore Faith Lutheran 12-8 in the third quarter alone, as he knocked down 3 3-pointers and grabbed 12 rebounds. Dan Turpin had 11 points and 6 rebounds as Harvest won the rebounding edge 35-23 and shot at a 55 percent clip after the first quarter. But there was no stopping Vislisel, who shot 13 of 26 from the field, 3 of 5 from downtown and outscored the Saints alone.
"As he learns and develops his game he's going to be hard to guard," Boldog said of Vislisel. "He has that outside side and the height advantage inside and we're going to keep continue to work together and find him those good shots. It's about the team doing their job so we can get open looks and easy shots."
After the Saints (0-3) grabbed a 15-13 lead with 6 minutes left in the second quarter, Turpin spearheaded a 17-4 run when he drained a 3 from the top of the arc on the next possession. Then Vislisel converted on an old-fashioned 3-point play after he put back an offensive rebound to make 19-15 Harvest.
Vislisel's layup with 2:01 left gave Harvest a 25-16 lead and just before the half he'd convert another 3-point play to put Harvest up 11.
But Vislisel was just getting started. When Harvest's lead was cut to 8 with 5:38 in the third, Vislisel buried a 3 in the right wing and his last came with 1:30 left, giving Harvest a 20-point cushion. The lead would balloon as high as 28.
"The outside is where I feel most comfortable but with my height, my team needs me inside so I try and work on both," Vislisel said. "It's especially good for us if we can get an outside shot have the pull the defense out and be able to score down low."
Jake Larson scored 16 points and had 5 rebounds for the Saints. Harvest will play Luther North at 3:45 p.m. today for 5th place in the tournament.