South Elgin had the right plan of attack Thursday night at West Chicago.
Storm boys basketball coach Matt Petersen told his team to run its up-tempo offense, score a boatload of points and make sure Wildcats star John Konchar couldn't match the big offensive numbers all by himself. Things pretty much went the way the Storm planned, as South Elgin (4-5, 2-2) exploded for 84 points over the final three quarters to outslug Konchar and the Wildcats 99-88 in Upstate Eight Valley play.
While Konchar was scoring a school-record 49 points -- and also pulling in 27 rebounds -- South Elgin guard Matthew Smith tallied a personal-high 36 points and received plenty of support as the Storm connected on 12 3-pointers and survived Konchar's huge night.
"That was what we wanted to do," Petersen said of his team's strategy. "We talked about if we could score 80 or 90, he's not going to score 80 or 90. He'll score a lot, but not that many."
The Wildcats (5-5, 2-3) led 17-15 after one quarter, but South Elgin dropped a 36-point second quarter on the hosts to take a 51-42 lead at the half and never trailed from there. Smith had 15 points in that second quarter on his way to 24 points through two quarters.
"My teammates found me and I was hitting. Give all the credit to them for finding me," said Smith, who was one of three Storm players to tally more than 20 points.
Darius Wells made five 3s and finished with 26 points, while Matt McClure added a trio of long bombs and tallied 21 points. It was a Wells steal with 11 seconds left in the game that almost got the Storm to the century mark. But after Smith was fouled and hit a free throw to get to 99, his second attempt rolled off the rim.
"It is not too bad, especially with the win," Smith said when talking about "settling" for team-record 99 points. "It was a fun game, but they sure stuck with us. It really helped with Matt and Darius stepping up tonight. Without them we wouldn't have won."
South Elgin needed all the points it could get as Konchar was unstoppable. After a 23-point first half, the 6-foot-4 senior was even better in the second half. He totaled 26 points and 17 rebounds over the final two quarters, numbers that most players would love to have over an entire game.
The Storm led 77-61 late in the third following a 3-pointer from McClure, but the Wildcats had an Alex Mitchell basket and then a Konchar putback to make it 77-65 heading in the fourth quarter. West Chicago then pulled to within 6 on two occasions late, but late turnovers prevented any miracle finishes.
"It was a phenomenal effort from a phenomenal basketball player," West Chicago coach Bill Recchia said of Konchar's game. "They put down a ton of 3s and we dug ourselves a little hole.
"I'm so proud of them for fighting back and putting themselves in position to win, but unfortunately we came up short. I've never seen this team quit, and tonight was another example of that."