Elk Grove snapped a two-game losing streak and also put a end to its recent second-half blues at the 40th annual Jack Tosh Tournament at York High School on Thursday night.
The Grenadiers never trailed in defeating Timothy Christian 58-38 in first-round action. The win will pit Elk Grove against Palatine at 7:30 p.m. Friday; the winner will take on either St. Patrick or Highland Park.
"It was a very complete game for us," said Elk Grove coach Anthony Furman. "We talked about passing the ball around the perimeter and being ready to catch and shoot."
Elk Grove shot well from the arc, connecting for 9 three-point baskets. Elk Grove (7-3) shot 46 percent from the field on 23 of 50 attempts. Only a 4-for-12 third quarter kept the percentage from being higher.
Still, Elk Grove hit for 3 long-range baskets, outscoring Timothy Christian 11-8 to lead 44-28 after three quarters.
The Grens opened up a 11-3 lead with Scott Furlong scoring the first two baskets. By quarter's end it was 17-8.
Joell Melendez (15 points) opened up the third quarter with a 3-pointer that helped Elk Grove build a 23-8 lead with 5:22 left in the half. The Trojans (6-3) never seriously threatened.
"We had to play our game tonight and trust each other," said Melendez. "We needed to share the ball more and play as a team, like we did tonight. At times we show what a good team we can be when we play like we did tonight. To keep winning at this tournament, and in the season, we have to be able to take care of the lead."
Anthony Bianchini continued his solid play of late with 10 points. Furlong added 8 points as did Bryan Alcazar. Dan Handler and Kyle Ingebrightsen each had 7 points. Ingebrightsen also pulled down 7 rebounds as Elk Grove outrebounded Timothy 23-18.
Connor VanderBurg led Timothy with 14 points and Khali Valerie added 11.
"They executed their game plan very well," said Timothy Christian coach Jack LeGrand. "Their defense took us out of our offense. At times we were sluggish."
Elk Grove forced Timothy Christian into 35 percent shooting and forced 9 turnovers.
"We knew that they would mix up their defense from a 2-3 zone to man-to-man," said Furman. "Everyone did their part in this one. We showed a lot of patience and waited for a good shot. What we have to do is to respond better with our play in the second half."