IC Catholic Prep senior Demetrius Carr said after Friday night's 62-54 victory over St. Edward in Elmhurst that the Knights had to be at their best against the Green Wave to prevail.
Consider the mission accomplished.
Buoyed by a dominant first quarter that saw IC lead 14-2 after the first eight minutes, the Knights kept a firm grip on the game and never let go, making school history by being the first boys squad to win back-to-back conference titles.
"St. Edward gives us their best game and we had to give our best game back," Carr said. "This is a great feeling -- two years in a row and being part of history."
Carr led his team with 20 points, including three 3-point baskets.
IC finishes the regular season 21-5 and wins the Suburban Christian Gold title outright with a 9-1 mark. St. Edward goes into the postseason 20-7, 7-3.
"I feel a little bit of relief and a lot of excitement," said Knights coach T.J. Tyrell. "And I feel a lot of pride. I'm proud of the boys."
Also hitting for double-digit points for IC were freshman Rhashaun Epting with 16 points and Clark Brinkman with 12.
Friday night might not be the end to the IC-St. Edward story. If both teams prevail in their Wednesday Class 2A Westmont regional semifinals, they would meet for a fifth time in the regional final. The Knights have won three encounters so far, including a Christmas tournament showdown.
IC led 14-2 after the opening quarter on 4-of-9 shooting and 5 of 6 from the free-throw line while the Green Wave was 1 of 12 from the field.
"We shot the ball very poorly. If we shot well, it might have been a different game," said St. Edward coach P.J. White. "We were down 10-0. We lose by eight. You can't bury yourself early. That's a good team."
The Knights led 31-16 at halftime and 46-32 after three quarters. The Green Wave burst open for 22 points in the final quarter and Nick Duffy's basket with just seconds left made it an 8-point final.
He hit for 12 of his game-high 22 points in the final eight minutes of the contest.
"Nick's a sophomore and he does a great job. But we need four, five, six players to play hard," Jones said.
Davonte Elam followed on the Green Wave scoresheet with 12 points. Mike Butzow had 10.
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