2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 1/10/2014 11:14 PM

Elk Grove's planning pays off

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By Travis David
Daily Herald Correspondent

Elk Grove boys basketball coach Anthony Furman knew returning Mid-Suburban League all-conference selection Jeremy Stephani would score his fair share of points for Wheeling on Friday night.

So Furlong and the Grenadiers' main objective was to not let anyone else hurt them.

Mission accomplished.

The Grens (9-5, 3-1) limited Stephani to 15 points while no other Wildcat player scored more than 6 points as Elk Grove came away with a 50-39 win in MSL East play on its home court.

"You are not going to prevent Stephani from shooting, he is going to get his attempts," Furman said of the game plan. "He scored 39 against Hersey. We told the kids nobody else has a big game, and make him work for every single point -- and I thought we did a nice job of that tonight."

The Wildcats senior guard finished the game with 4-for-18 shooting from the field.

The Grens held Wheeling (8-9, 2-2) to just 11 points after the first 16 minutes of play and entered the locker room with a 12-point lead. A putback bucket by Bryan Alcazar with 5:11 left in the third period extended the Grens' lead to 29-13, matching the largest lead of the game.

"First off you have to credit Elk Grove, their players played with a lot of energy and I thought they knocked down a lot of shots early and we didn't," Wheeling coach Anthony Como said. "I thought all of our shooters got some great looks, we just didn't hit them and as a result we just dug ourselves too big of a hole tonight."

The Wildcats used a 6-0 spurt midway through the final frame to draw within 44-37 but could get no closer. The Grens defense took over, led by Alcazar.

The Elk Grove senior guard all but ended the Wildcats comeback as he swatted away a shot from Stephani as he was driving to hoop.

"That's a play where he (Stephani) beat us to the basket earlier and I knew that's what he was going to try and do again," Alcazar said of the pivotal blocked shot.

Alcazar finished the game with 8 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.

"I thought this was our best defensive effort tonight," Furman said. "We contested everything. Just a great team defensive effort."

Eric Pillath iced the game bu scoring two buckets inside the paint to extend the Grens' lead back to double digits (48-37) with 1:12 to play.

Pillath came off the bench to lead the Grens in scoring for the second straight game with 14 points. Seven different players reached the scoring column for Elk Grove.

The Grens also controlled the glass with a 35-28 edge in rebounds.

Almost half (14) of the Elk Grove rebounds came on the offensive end, which led to 17 second-chance points. Scott Furlong pulled down 10 boards in addition to his 9 points.

Patrick Szpir pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds for the Wildcats before fouling out.

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