Richmond-Burton's boys basketball team delivered the first push.
Joe St. Pierre, the Rockets' 6-foot-8, thickly built freshman, provided a sample of his strength and athleticism early in Friday night's tournament game against Wauconda at Richmond-Burton. St. Pierre made a steal at center court, crashing into the scorers table and moving it backward in the process.
Richmond-Burton pushed again in the fourth quarter behind thrilling sophomore Sam Kaufman.
But Wauconda pushed last.
The Bulldogs scored the game's final eight points to pull out a 60-52 win over the host school.
"It was a great win," said Wauconda senior guard Dion Head, who continued his strong play this week with his second 18-point effort in a row and 10 rebounds.
Wauconda (2-1) wraps up the tournament, co-hosted by Johnsburg and Richmond-Burton, with a 5:30 p.m. tipoff today in Richmond.
The 6-4 Kaufman, who finished with a game-high 25 points, scored 9 of Richmond-Burton's 14 points in the fourth quarter. His steal and breakaway dunk pulled the Rockets even at 52-52 with 3:48 left.
"I give him credit. He's a tough kid," Wauconda coach Scott Luetschwager said. "We knew they were athletic. We were concerned about their shooting and their zone."
After a Wauconda timeout, 6-6 Jake Baumgarten's only basket, a layup, gave the lead back to the Bulldogs. An offensive-rebound basket by Ricky Sidlowski (10 points, 9 rebounds) and a layup in transition by Joey Lovelle (11 points) made it 58-52, before free throws by sophomore Dylan Latiolais and Head finished the scoring.
Richmond-Burton missed several 3-point attempts while chasing its deficit and finished 5-of-16 shooting in the fourth.
"Down the stretch, we told (the players), 'Squeeze the middle and make them shoot outside shots still,' " Luetschwager said. "We wanted to make sure (Richmond-Burton) was taking contested shots. We didn't want to give them anything easy inside."
"Our senior leadership came together," Head said. "We decided that we were going to shut them down -- talk more on defense, move and be more aggressive, but not stupid."
Wauconda took a 35-23 lead into halftime after scoring 19 points in the second quarter while limiting the Rockets to 5 made free throws and no field goals.
"That was huge," Luetschwager said of his team's second-quarter defense.
Mike Kaska, who hit his first three 3-point attempts, and Brian Wells each had 9 points for Richmond-Burton. St. Pierre was in foul trouble most of the night and finished with just 4 points.
Wauconda sophomore Kevin Malisheski scored 12 points on four 3-pointers, including a pair of clutch ones early in the fourth to help keep the Bulldogs in front. Luetschwager liked what he saw from his guards -- Head, Malisheski, Brian Malisheski (Kevin's older brother), Lovelle and Latiolais.
"Our guards just handled the ball well," Luetschwager said. "They weren't turning it over left and right."