Antonio Domel's sixth steal Friday night might have been more important than any of his 16 points.
The St. Edward senior stripped Burlington Central's Moter Deng while he was going up for a layup or perhaps his third crowd-pleasing dunk of the night that would have cut the Green Wave lead to 2 with about 3:10 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Instead of a 2-point game, Domel's steal sparked a 9-3 run as St. Edward defeated the Rockets, 74-65, in a nonconference boys basketball game in Elgin.
"I'm not sure he even saw me," Domel said. "I just took from him. I wasn't going to let him score on us. After that, that kind of took them out of the game."
The Green Wave (16-4) appeared to be in control after a Domel basket with 6:10 remaining in the game gave St. Edward a 62-50 lead. But Central (6-12) cut the deficit to 62-58 with an 8-0 run capped by a pair of free throws from James Raney with 3:15 to go. Following the free throws, Deng stole the ball in the backcourt and had a clear lane to the basket. Domel came from the Deng's left side and swiped the ball as Deng was going into the air. St. Edward came down the court and Davontae Elam's basket with 2:46 remaining made it 64-58.
Deng nailed a 3-pointer with 2:38 to go to get the Rockets within 3, 64-61. The Green Wave scored the next 7 points to seal the win.
"Our offense was their offense," said Central coach Brett Porto, who saw his team turn the ball over 25 times. "They created a lot of offense off our offense. That's what the game comes down to."
St. Edward held the lead for the final 28 minutes of the game. The Rockets got close in each quarter before the Green Wave went on a run to answer. The game was tied at 9-9 with 4½ minutes remaining in the first quarter before a 7-0 St. Edward run gave it the lead for good. The Rockets got within 1, 21-20, in the second quarter. The Green Wave answered with a 9-0 run. When Central made it 38-34 in the third, St. Edward went on a 16-2 run to increase the lead to 18, 54-36.
"This is a great win," Green Wave coach P.J. White said. "We talked about it all week. This is a win we really wanted to have. It's a rivalry we would like to get back."
Nine players scored in double figures in the game and each team had a player finish with a double-double. Domel and Elam each had 16 points for Green Wave. Luke Duffy finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Danny Favela had 11 points and Adrian Ponce had 10 for the Green Wave. John Butzow had 9 points.
Deng had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Central. Ryan Ritchie hit four 3-pointers and finished with 15 points. Reed Hunnicutt had 12 points. Bryce Warner added 11.