What do you get when you combine a fast start with a second-half dunk contest?
A convincing 84-52 victory for St. Charles East's basketball team against visiting Streamwood (1-6, 0-3) Saturday night in St. Charles.
The Saints (4-4, 2-2) began the game with a 13-0 run that eventually led to a 20-2 advantage after the first 5 Ĺ minutes of play.
Junior guard Zach Manibog connected on his first three 3-point attempts while sophomore James McQuillan added a layup and a 3-pointer of his own during the Saints' first-quarter surge.
"Zach did it last night, too," said Saints coach Patrick Woods. "He hit two 3s to start the game last night (61-57 win over Geneva) and his first three tonight."
St. Charles East received a huge lift from its bench in the second quarter, as juniors Mick Vyzral, Jake Asquini and Cam Miller combined for 19 of the team's 25 points.
The Saints led 47-27 at halftime, thanks in part to their 21-3 advantage from beyond the 3-point arc.
AJ Washington turned the early moments of the third quarter into a personal highlight reel.
First, the Saints' 6-5 senior forward capped off a baseline drive with a 1-hand dunk to extend the lead to 51-27.
Fifteen seconds later, junior guard Cole Gentry (8 points, 9 assists, 4 steals) came up with a steal and found senior guard Dom Adduci leading the fast break near midcourt.
Adduci then delivered a picture-perfect pass off the backboard that a trailing Washington cupped with his right hand and finished with a thunderous jam that brought the Saints' bench to its feet -- and forced Sabres coach Paul Kowalyszyn to burn a timeout.
"I've been playing with Dom since seventh grade so we have chemistry," Washington said of Adduci. "He looked back and I sort of knew he was going to throw it up there."
On the Saints' next possession, Washington applied the exclamation point with his 2-handed dunk off a feed from Gentry as the lead grew to 55-29.
"Dom and Cole have great vision getting me the ball and knowing where I'm at," said Washington, who finished with 12 points and 9 rebounds. "Our bench -- we call them the 'Bench Mob' -- they inspire the dunks. It gets the whole team into the game. That was a blast."
St. Charles East continued its momentum throughout a 17-6 fourth-quarter tear that featured a pair of 3-pointers from junior guard Jake Clodi and a steal and dunk by 6-8 junior Jack Bronec.
By the time it was over, all 13 Saints players in uniform got their names into the scorebook -- clinched when senior James Jones canned a 12-foot jumper with 18 seconds remaining.
"You always want to get those kids in the game," said Woods. "It's not like you don't play them because you don't want to. It's great when you have an opportunity to get them all in because they work as hard as everyone else."
The Saints' reserves accounted for 40 of the team's 84 points, with Vyzral leading the way with 13 points.
"It was a great team effort tonight," said Woods. "It was a good weekend for us -- we needed it. I think we're heading in the right direction."
Cole Seger and Antonio Harris led Streamwood with 16 and 14 points, respectively.
"Our goal right now is to get to the level where we can compete with these higher tiered teams in our conference," said Kowalyszyn. "That's the reality of the situation.
"I see some good things but we're nowhere near where we need to be. It's going to be a process but we'll keep working at it."