Conant guard Robert Hudson set the tone for the Cougars in Friday night's 50-31 Mid-Suburban League West win over Hoffman Estates.
Hudson scored 10 of his game-high 15 points in the first half, but the 6-foot-6 senior was more excited about visiting Conant's effort on 'D.'
"We came out with a new defensive committment tonight," said Hudson. "We call it 'blue and silver' -- it worked for us last year against Hoffman, and we put it back in this week."
They weren't able to handle it, especially in the first half.
Conant held the Hawks to 2-of-17 from 3-point range, but Hoffman coach Luke Yanule said poor shooting wasn't the reason for the loss.
"Fifteen turnovers in the first half -- that was the problem," said Yanule. "We've got to find a solution for that.
"We're a good team -- we're better than our record shows -- but the key is turning the ball over. We can't use youth as an excuse any longer; it's mid-January."
Hudson and junior D'Angelo McBride (7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals) helped stake the Cougars to a 24-13 halftime lead, and Conant didn't let up in the final two quarters.
Two quick third-quarter baskets by senior Kevin Schimel, then a runout layup by Hudson to start the second half saw the Cougars (11-7, 3-2) grab a 16-point lead.
"It's great to see all my hard work in the off-season paying off," said Hudson. "I try to use my effort and energy to give the team a spark."
Free throws by Kevin Copher at the end of the third quarter put Conant up by 21, and though the Hawks -- led by Joe Biko's 11 points -- opened the fourth on a 4-point run, the home team couldn't get any closer than 17 the rest of the way.
Schimel added 8 points for Conant, while Jordan Robinson scored 6 points and grabbed 5 rebounds for Hoffman (3-13, 0-5) and teammate Connor Schwarz pitched in with 6 points.
"Their length and their bulk hurt us," said Yanule. "We've gone up against a lot of 1-2-2 defenses this year -- I think this is the fifth one we've seen in our 15 games.
"We also played good defense at times tonight," added the second-year coach, "but we've got to realize that the key is to cut down on the turnovers and give a solid effort not for 27 or 28 minutes, but for the entire game."