Whether or not Streamwood decides to let its season end at South Elgin next week is one thing, but for regular-season purposes the Sabres would like to copy Thursday's night win in South Elgin for the Class 4A regional that begins Monday.
The Sabres' 51-48 win over the Storm in an Upstate Eight crossover had a little bit of defense, a little bit of Zach Harris in the second quarter, a little bit of Cole Seger in third, and a lot of optimism as the fifth-seeded Sabres will return to South Elgin for Monday night's regional quarterfinal against No. 4 Elgin at 6 p.m.
Streamwood (12-17) has won 3 of its last 4 with wins over Geneva, Batavia, and will look to limit turnovers and stop Elgin's Arie Williams in the process.
"It's a tough task, there's a lot of good teams, we have to play well to advance, one day at a time.," said Streamwood coach Tim Jones, whose team is 0-2 against Elgin this season. "Williams is the MVP in the River Division for a reason. He can play. We're going to have to concentrate on him. I know a lot of people go the other way and say, 'well, we're just going to let him score and let the other ones take care of the other ones.'
"Well, I think you've got to stop him. He makes them go and you've got to do something to stop him. He knows what we did to stop him last time, we held him to two field goals. South Elgin plays very similar defensively to them, so this helps us; it's going to help us. We have no excuse. If we come out and play decent, we can win, if we don't, golf."
Williams wasn't on the court on Thursday, but the Sabres got after it in the second half. After trailing by 3 at halftime, Streamwood outscored South Elgin 20-13 in the third as Seger scored 9 of his 13 points on a 9-0 run all by himself in a 1:16 stretch where he scored 4 consecutive times. The spurt included a 3-pointer and a steal he converted into a layup to turn a 1-point Storm lead into a 4-point lead for the Sabres with 1:44 left in the third as Streamwood shot 21 of 42 from the field for the night.
"I started doubting myself and I just needed to bring myself back together, start playing harder," said Seger, who had 3 rebounds. "I was getting around the perimeter there, working a little harder to get myself open."
It looked like Seger drained a 3 to make it a 7-point Sabre lead early in the fourth but it was ruled a 2. South Elgin cut it the lead to 3 with under 3 minutes to go but that's when Streamwood's pressure defense, which forced 16 steals on 21 South Elgin turnovers, came up with key pick and gunned it ahead to Joel Lightbourne, who flushed his second dunk of the night to put Streamwood ahead 49-44 with 2:03 remaining.
"We had another game of 21 turnovers today, dribbling into the corners," said South Elgin coach Chaz Taft, whose team was outrebounded 21-19. "We get the rebound and they want to dribble, dribble dribble, they steal the ball and get two dunks on us, two momentum changes that kind of went their way ."
Freshman Matt Smith kept the Storm (5-22) in it late with his 11 points and 5 steals. Ryne Lundy led the way with 12 points and 5 rebounds. The Storm led by as many as 5 in the first half as they led for the entire second quarter, where Harris scored 6 of his game high 16 points for Streamwood while grabbing 6 boards.
As hosts of the regional, South Elgin enters as the No. 6 seed and will play No. 3 St. Charles North at 7:30 p.m. Monday.