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Conant boys basketball coach Tom McCormack posted his 500th career coaching win with the Cougars' 45-20 over St. Patrick in nonconference play in Hoffman Estates on Saturday night.
"I tried not to think of it too much," said McCormack. "There's a lot of people to thank. We've had a lot of good players who have come through here.
"Very important is my family and my wife. Without their support, it would have been hard to go this long. I am also thankful to athletic director Don Crandall, who gave me a chance to coach here in the 1985-86 season."
McCormack's first win as a varsity coach was at Immaculate Conception (now IC Catholic Prep) in Elmhurst, when the Knights defeated Proviso East at the Glenbard West Thanksgiving Tournament.
Win No. 500 win comes one day short of six years after the St. Patrick graduate won his 400th game.
The players all signed the game ball, which was given to McCormack after the game.
The Cougars (16-4) never trailed after scoring the first 7 points to start the game. St. Patrick's Nicholas Coleman, who led the 12-7 Shamrocks with 10 points, hit for a 3-point basket before the Cougars scored the last 7 points to lead 14-3 after one quarter.
Conant led 20-10 at halftime and 29-18 after three quarters.
The Cougars scored 16 straight points in the fourth quarter to lead 45-18 before the Shamrocks' Brandon Pfeiffer scored with 10 seconds left.
D'Angelo McBride and Joe Ranallo led Conant with 11 points. McBride added 6 rebounds. Ryan Blaha scored 9 points and had 9 rebounds.
"It was a great win," said McBride. "We had to succeed tonight on offense and defense, right from the start. Our goal inside was to not let them get second-chance shots. We had the goal to win and to share the special moment for coach McCormack. We did that by putting a lot of pressure on their offense."
"Coach has always been there for us," said Ranallo. "He's a great coach. We're there for practice every morning at 6 a.m. He pushes us to do our best, and we as players respect him for that."
"We knew St. Pat was a good team," said McCormack. "They have been playing good teams really tough. I know they had a tough one Friday night (a 58-51 loss at Benet), but we had a game Friday also.
"I thought our defense played very consistent for the whole game. In the second half we got back to our offense, working the baseline."
St. Patrick shot 26 percent (6-for-23) and had 13 rebounds. The Cougars shot 42 percent (14-for-33) but pulled down 25 rebounds.