Six-foor-6 senior center Johnnie Flynn got Schaumburg off to a quick start Saturday against Plainfield East by muscling in a couple of layups in the paint.
Unfortunately for the Saxons, they couldn't sustain the effort in the third-place game of the 55th annual Ron Johnson tournament at St. Charles East.
Not even an 11-0 run in the third quarter could save Schaumburg as they fell to the Bengals 55-37.
"We played well in spurts tonight," said Saxons coach Matt Walsh, "but we weren't consistent."
"We had no energy," added Schaumburg senior forward Joshua Rahn, who scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half. "We came out flat, and I can't explain why."
The Saxons trailed only 9-6 early on, then Plainfield East scored a flurry of points in the second quarter with an inside/outside game that saw the Bengals grab a 31-13 advantage.
Plainfield East had a decided height advantage as their staring front line measured 6-foot-7, 6-5 and 6-4.
Schaumburg perked up midway through the third quarter as Rahn led the team's run with a coast-to-coast layup and a 3-pointer, and just like that the Saxons were back in the game.
"Coach Walsh told us to come out in the second half and just try to play our best and cut into the deficit, and that's what we did," said Rahn. "We gave a much better effort (after intermission)."
Two free throws from Rahn late in the third quarter saw the Saxons climb back to within single digits, but Bengals guard Nick Novak stole the momentum away by nailing a long 3-pointer from the corner at the third-quarter buzzer.
The Schaumburg magic wore off in the fourth quarter as a stingy Bengals defense didn't allow the Saxons to score until Bobby Schwind sank a free throw with 2:41 remaining in the game.
A layup with seconds remaining by Shaun Palmer were the only other points Schaumburg (2-2) posted in the final stanza as Plainfield East guard Aaron Jordan, appropriately wearing No. 23, led the Bengals with 15 points.
Flynn had a team high 13 points for Schaumburg to go along with 5 rebounds (all in the second half), while sophomore Christopher Mullaney added 9 points.
The Saxons were off the mark at the free throw line, missing 7 of 17, and also from 3-point range where they finished 3-of-11, but Walsh still saw lots of reason for optimism.
"We did some very good things tonight," said Walsh, "but we let this game get away from us. We're a young team, and we'll learn from this and get better."