St. Francis boys basketball coach Bob Ward earned his 300th win with a 54-39 victory over Chicago Christian on Tuesday in Wheaton.
"I'm fortunate to get a chance to coach again," Ward said of his three seasons at St. Francis. "I took 11 years off there and wasn't sure if I was ever gonna come back as a head coach and I came back to a great school and really good kids. I will tell you this, as an assistant or a head coach, this is my fifth school and I've been at five great schools. I mean really, really good schools."
The Spartans (8-8) earned their victory in the Suburban Christian Conference crossover game with hard work down low in the first half. Senior forward Kilian Brown had 11 of his team leading 15 points in the first 16 minutes and was the Spartans' main offensive catalyst. Neither team hit a 3-pointer in the first half.
The Spartans led 27-18 to start the third quarter, but the Knights went on a 7-0 run in the second half to narrow the lead to 2 points. The 27-25 score line would be the closest in the game, however, as the Spartans turned it up once again, ending the third 40-30.
"I mean we cut the lead and they were just better than we were down the stretch," said Knights coach Kevin Pittman. "They're a seasoned team, we're trying to play some kids and we're trying to get through some stretches. I thought we played OK in stretches tonight, but again just not long enough for us to sustain any kind of rally."
St. Francis scored 14 points in the fourth and hit four 3-pointers in the second half would seal the win for Ward's 300th, giving his team its eighth win of the year.
"The least I can say is he's a great coach," Brown said of Ward. "Three-hundredth win, I can't imagine what it's like and I'm just proud I can be the one to do it for him."
Ward thought the defensive effort to hold onto the Spartans' lead was the difference in the game.
"I really thought we got out, we kind of were able to take them out some of the things that they tried to do and they're very effective when they run that motion," Ward said. "They've got some good back cuts on us and they got some nice players, but we were able to really go out and (play) hard."
Sophomore Trevor Wolterink lead the Knights (7-11) with some good play in the paint, dropping a team-high 15 points.