2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 12/23/2013 10:10 PM

Uplift lights up St. Charles East

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Just as on Saturday, St. Charles East had four double-figure scorers in its opener at the 53rd annual Proviso West Holiday Tournament.

Trouble was they allowed Uplift five, and the Titans from Chicago's Uptown neighborhood beat the Saints 81-71 on Monday in Hillside.

Bounced from the Proviso championship bracket, St. Charles East (5-5) moves to the consolation field where it'll face Gage Park at 8:30 a.m. Friday. Morton beat Gage Park 74-46 on Monday.

"We didn't get in front of anyone, we gave up too many layups. that's the bottom line," said St. Charles East coach Patrick Woods.

"We talked about it, talked about staying in front of them," he said. "Our (defensive) rotation was really slow. We didn't try to take a charge, we didn't try to block a shot, we didn't try to do anything, we just let them go in for a layup and it's a real easy game when you let them do that."

Neither Woods nor the statistics lied. Uplift (12-0) made 30 of 54 field goal attempts (56 percent), grabbed 41 rebounds and went 16 of 26 from the line, making more than the Saints attempted. St. Charles East shot 40 percent from the floor and grabbed 30 boards.

"We knew that they had a lot of confidence coming in, obviously, being undefeated," said the Saints' Jake Asquini, who scored 15 points on five 3-pointers. "We knew that they wanted to drive on us all day, so our game plan was to keep them in front of us, just don't let them drive, force them to shoot. But you've got to give them credit, they hit a lot of big shots. We weren't expecting them to shoot like that."

Asquini and particularly junior forward Mick Vyzral came off the bench in the first half to help spark some needed offense, Vyzral scoring 10 of his 14 points in a half Uplift led 37-34.

"We had to play hard because we got the scouting report on No. 2 (Dom Adduci) and No. 3 (Cole Gentry), their main ballhandlers," said Uplift point guard Quintin Olagbegi, who scored 19 points with 7 assists. "We had to play tight on them, stop them from getting themselves going. Stop them and go from there."

A pair of dunks by A.J. Washington, one on a Gentry alley-oop pass and another on a drive down the lane, had St. Charles East hanging within 46-42 of the Titans with 3:30 left in the third quarter.

Uplift gained slight separation on an Olagbegi baseline drive and then on a finger-roll lay in. On a fourth-chance putback, Jamaya Wyatt gave the Titans a 54-46 lead entering the fourth quarter.

"We got outrebounded and I think we only took maybe two charges out there," said Gentry, who scored 14 while backcourt mate Adduci had 11 before fouling out with 34 seconds left. "Against a team like that you really have to limit their driving with your ability to take a charge because then it makes them think about it next time."

Uplift quickly opened up a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter and St. Charles East was unable to pull closer than 9. Augustin Tronou led the Titans with 21 points, Jeremy Roscoe adding 20.

"We'll be fine when it comes around," Woods said, "but it's just going to be a project getting there. I just hope we get there sooner than later."

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