Watching a 14-point halftime lead shrink to 10 in the first 2 minutes of the third quarter, St. Charles East basketball coach Patrick Woods did not want Wednesday night's nonconference game with Glenbard West to turn into a case of déjà vu.
Four days earlier, the Saints had let a 16-point halftime lead slip away, being outscored 50-26 in the second half of Saturday's 72-64 road loss to Evanston.
"We talked about that (at halftime)," said Woods. "They cut it to 10 so I took a timeout."
This time, however, the Saints (9-7) regrouped and gradually pulled away during their 62-47 victory in St. Charles.
"The good teams are going to make a run so we expected that but I thought today we made the shots at big times," said junior guard Cole Gentry, who finished with 15 points and 4 assists. "(Jake) Asquini had a big three at the end of the third quarter."
Glenbard West (6-7), which captured its own holiday tournament title to close out the 2013 portion of its schedule, trimmed what was an 18-point deficit to 47-38 on Abdulla Alzamli's 3-pointer late in the third quarter.
Asquini (6 points) answered with a 3-pointer from the corner off a feed from Gentry with 7 seconds remaining in the period to extend the Saints' lead to 50-38 and provide a little extra breathing room in the process.
"He always finds people," Woods said of Gentry, who added three 3-point baskets of his own.
A 3-point play by senior guard Dom Adduci, who poured in a game-high 26 points along with 5 assists and 5 steals, and Jake Clodi's 3-pointer from the corner made it 56-40 with 5:41 remaining.
"We do want to play at a fast tempo," said Woods. "Guys like Asquini, Clodi, Adduci and Gentry -- if their feet are set and they're open, I'm not going to tell them not to shoot the ball unless it's late in the game and we want to manage clock.
"I think the worst thing for a kid to be doing is to be playing looking over his shoulder at me," the coach added. "I want them to be comfortable."
Gentry, who missed a few games earlier in the season due to a back injury, has regained that comfortable feeling again.
"About two weeks ago, I noticed that I was pretty much there (physically) and last week at Proviso (West) I felt like I was going full again," Gentry said.
Led by senior forward AJ Washington (8 rebounds, 5 blocked shots), the Saints' defense held the Hilltoppers without a field goal for nearly 9 minutes in the first half.
"They (Hilltoppers) do a great job of running their half-court offense," said Woods. "We wanted to change that right away and went to the traps."
Will Reedy and Corey Davis had 15 and 14 points, respectively, for the Hilltoppers, who saw their 4-game winning streak snapped.
"That was probably our worst game of the year in terms of energy," said Glenbard West coach Tim Hoder. "They're a hard team to prepare for but we just looked very flat tonight."
Both teams entered the game not having practiced for more than 3 days due to school closings Monday and Tuesday.
"It was out of our routine but guess what -- it was out of their routine, too, and they took it to us right away," said Hoder.