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2014-'15 Season Coverage
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Article updated: 1/11/2014 12:09 AM
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Current Conant crop makes alums proud
 

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Current Conant crop makes alums proud
  • Conant's Joe Ranallo goes after a loose ball between Schaumburg's Brendan Parker and Marquis Woodard at Conant on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | Conant's Joe Ranallo goes after a loose ball between Schaumburg's Brendan Parker and Marquis Woodard at Conant on Friday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  •  Conant's Ryan Blaha delivers a bucket as Schaumburg's Johnnie Flynn on defense fouls him, leading to a 3-point play at Conant on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | Conant's Ryan Blaha delivers a bucket as Schaumburg's Johnnie Flynn on defense fouls him, leading to a 3-point play at Conant on Friday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  •  Conant's Joe Ranallo splits Schaumburg defenders Marquis Woodard and Charlie Quilico at Conant on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | Conant's Joe Ranallo splits Schaumburg defenders Marquis Woodard and Charlie Quilico at Conant on Friday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Greg Swiderski

On Friday night at Conant, the Cougars welcomed back the 1993-1994 team that finished 27-3. That squad lost to LaGrange in the first round of the Elite Eight in Champaign.

The current Cougars gave the alums something nice to remember them by.

Story Continues Below

Motivated by the setting and visiting rival Schaumburg, Conant made quick work of the Saxons 48-32 to stay 1 game back of Fremd in the Mid-Suburban West race.

"We were excited for the start of the game," said Conant point guard Joe Ranallo. "We prepared well for Schaumburg this week in practice. There was a lot of attention to detail in practice."

Conant never trailed in the contest that saw their record improve to 11-4 overall and 3-1 in the West.

The Cougars broke out to a 5-0 lead but the Saxons (7-10, 1-3) closed to 5-4. That was as close as Schaumburg got. Conant went on a 9-0 run to extend the lead to 14-4 as Ranallo scored 5 of his to points and assisted Ryan Blaha's basket during the run.

Conant hit 8 of 12 shots from the field in the quarter while Schaumburg hit on 5 of 8. Four turnovers that turned into 6 Cougar points hurt the Saxons.

"We turned the ball over early in particular," said Schaumburg coach Matt Walsh. "We didn't shoot well from the field (12-for-32, 37 percent) or from the free throw line, where we were 6-15. Conant had a lot to do with that. There were some things I saw out there that we will have to learn to build on."

Brendan Parker led the Saxons with 8 points and Charlie Quilico had 7, both off the bench.

Leading 19-10 after the first quarter, Conant outscored the Saxons 8-4 in a slower paced second quarter. Blaha, who scored 10 points along with D'Angelo McBride, scored twice on 3-point plays to open a 27-11 lead with 1:38 left in the first half.

"Ryan got some good boards for us and executed those 3-point plays," said Ranallo. "Those plays hurt them."

"We had to stop their motion offense and stop their big men from scoring outside," said Blaha, who pulled down 6 rebounds. "It was a big win for us to beat Schaumburg. By hitting the boards and getting the rebounds we were able to run the floor."

Leading 32-14 after two McBride baskets to start the second half, Schaumburg went on an 8-0 run in :22 to close the gap to 32-22.

Conant righted the ship with 6-1 run to lead 38-23 with :55 left in the quarter.

"The only thing I didn't like," said Conant coach Tom McCormack, "was our 16 turnovers. We addressed that in the locker room at the end of the game. Those turnovers were caused by Schaumburg's defense. But we had some good drive penetration where we were able to score.

"What I like about the win is that we still can control our destiny, being 1 game back. I still think we have not played our best basketball yet. We're improving and we want to be ready for the rest of the conference race and the state playoffs."

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