On Saturday evening St. Charles East presented four honorees with lifetime achievement awards. Then the boys basketball team put in its bid.
In an awesome display of long-distance shooting and a surprise given the margin, the Saints beat a good St. Charles North team 90-55 in Upstate Eight Conference River Division play.
Blistering the North Stars' 2-3 zone for 25 points in each of the first two quarters, the Saints shot 32 of 56 from the floor and a blazing 16 of 30 from 3-point range.
"We were fired up because we lost at their place (68-58 on Dec. 7), we definitely felt like we let that game get away from us. We just wanted to come out, get some revenge," said St. Charles East guard Dom Adduci, who hit five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 23 points.
"It was just amazing, to be honest with you -- everyone just knocking down shots, our team chemistry was great, we were finding open people," he said. "Especially with me being a senior and then a couple seniors we have it just felt so nice for the last time on our floor (against North) to come out the way we did and take control of that rivalry like we did today."
The 90 points was the most St. Charles East (11-7, 5-2) has scored this season and the most St. Charles North (11-6, 5-2) has given up.
"I'd say in my three years that was probably one of the single-best performances as a team that I've had here, so it's good to see," said Saints coach Patrick Woods. "I think the thing I'm most happy with is out of our 30-some field goals we had assists on 23 of them, so we're sharing the ball real well and obviously we shot the ball real well today. We knew we had that capability all along but it's nice to see it happen."
Starting with an Adduci 3 and capped by the obligatory A.J. Washington dunk, St. Charles East scored the game's first 9 points. Jake Ludwig finally broke the North Star ice on a drive at 4:56 of the first quarter, but after Jack Callaghan scored 3 points over the next 53 seconds to get within 11-5, St. Charles East went on a 12-0 run.
"I thought we were like just stuck in mud on both ends," said St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin. "We were a step short, a step late. There was nothing intense about what we were doing on either end, our execution was slow offensively and in transition. I mean, five games in eight games, I could sit here and say that this takes a toll on you, but this is St. Charles East-St. Charles North."
Poulin said a critical factor was the North Stars' defense allowed the ball into the high post, and guard penetration. But there's little to counter Adduci catching the ball 27 feet away from the basket and launching a perfect swish.
"I feel like if I get the ball anywhere on the floor, I feel confident that I can knock the shot down," said the guard, who came off a 40-point game Dec. 10 against Elgin.
Making 10 of 16 field goals in the first quarter while posting a 25-8 lead, St. Charles East showed no letup. It led 34-11 at 6:03 of the second quarter on an Adduci basket from a steal by Cole Gentry, who scored 8 points with 9 assists.
Then it was the second unit's turn. Jake Asquini hit the first 3-pointer he shot as did Zach Manibog, who scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting. This was contagious.
"Anyone could have their given night," Manibog said. "Obviously it was our night tonight. We just came out with a lot of fire and that helped us out and we just kept on going from that."
St. Charles North guard Alec Goetz, held to 1 shot and no points in the first quarter, erupted for 10 of his team-high 17 in the second quarter. All that did was trim the halftime deficit to 50-22, and it became 59-22 when Mick Vyzral hit a turnaround and then a 3 for a 59-22 lead at 5:15 of the third.
Adduci's last 3, from the left wing, gave St. Charles East a 62-24 lead with 4:21 left in the third quarter, enabling Woods to turn the floor over to players like Jake Clodi, sixth off the bench but good for 10 points to help end St. Charles North's four-game winning streak.
"We didn't come out with fire today," Goetz said. "But I think this game might be one of the best things to happen for us because we're going to go back to square one. We're going to go back to realizing what it means to beat people and having people doubt us, because we gained some respect and I think we lost some today."