The St. Francis boys basketball team had only played twice during this month before Wednesday night's 66-41 home win over Walther Christian.
The last time the Spartans (7-6, 4-2 Suburban Christian Blue) took to the court for a game was Jan. 14 against Aurora Christian. So after an eight-day layoff, St. Francis finally took its game for a spin on the court and found the team's basketball engine running smoothly.
"During the time off we practiced well. We had two really good practices leading up to tonight," said Spartans coach Bob Ward. "It was a good team win. We used 11, 12 guys. Walther is quick and has some good shooters and we were able to guard their scorers well."
The Spartans led the Broncos 13-8 after the first quarter but really turned things up a notch in the second with 8-of-13 shooting from the field and outscoring Walther Christian 20-6 for a 33-14 halftime lead.
Senior Kilian Brown finished with a game-high 24 points, including 14 in the pivotal first half and was key to the Spartans outrebounding the Broncos 41-23 for the game. He pulled down a game-high 12 boards.
"Kilian is really physically strong. We try to get him the ball as much as we can inside. And he played a really good defensive game tonight," Ward said.
That defense and the defense of St. Francis in general was crucial to holding Walther Christian (2-14, 1-3) to 4-of-24 shooting for the first half. Broncos coach Jake Benke said the Spartans did a strong job of defending against Walther Christian's top offensive players and the adjustments made at halftime helped the Broncos double their scoring output from the first half.
St. Francis still led 49-27 at the end of the third quarter.
"We moved, screened and cut better than in the first half. That adjustment helped," Benke said.
R`Mondre Stockley led Walther Christian with 17 points.
For St. Francis, Nathan Zito had 12 points, Adam Hart had 8 and 10 rebounds, and Zach Prociuk also had 8 points.
The St. Francis schedule picks up speed with a pair of games this weekend, first with a Friday game at Marmion and the Spartans hosting Prairie Ridge on Saturday. Glenbard South comes to St. Francis on Tuesday before the Spartans hit the road for the Rock Island Tournament on Feb. 1.