In regards to South Elgin’s boys basketball team losing 7 of its last 8 and the playoffs rapidly approaching, Storm guard Darius Wells thought it was time his team made a statement.
Unfortunately, Barrington had seen this South Elgin statement once before in the teams’ previous meeting on Dec. 23 and that one didn’t go so well, either.
South Elgin forced Barrington into 6 fourth quarter turnovers that night and came from behind from 2 points down in the final 5 minutes to beat Barrington 77-68 at the Hinkle Holiday Classic, which basically bled into Tuesday’s installment, as South Elgin applied its defensive effort from the start and caught fire early in its 84-58 nonconference win over the Broncos in South Elgin Tuesday night.
The Storm (12-13) connected on their first 5 shots for 10-0 lead and never looked back. Matt McClure led the Storm with 19 points, including 9 in the first quarter, which helped propel South Elgin to nail 30 shots overall for a 53.5 percent clip, which included 13 3-pointers in the process. McClure nailed 4 from downtown and a team-high 5 steals while 9 of Wells’ 17 points came on 3 3-pointers as well.
But the turnovers again played a key part in South Elgin’s win, as the Broncos committed 29, 13 alone in that first quarter as South Elgin totaled 15 steals and scored 27 points off turnovers.
“We took what we did in that fourth quarter, we even used that more to our benefit,” Storm coach Matt Petersen said. “We really wanted to force the issue and make them dribble into mistakes, pick up the ball, and create steals that way and I thought we did that from the beginning of the game.”
“It was real important because last time we played them it was a close game,” Wells said. “We felt like us being on our losing streak we had to come out and make a statement.”
Barrington valiantly tried to come back with a 23-point second quarter, but South Elgin followed up with 22 in the second and 23 in the third as the lead reached its summit at 36. Jake Amrhein also nailed a 3 and added 11 points for the Storm, who nailed 13 of 29 from downtown.
“We do a good job of driving and kicking out for open looks so a lot of our shots they’re good looks for 3s,” McClure said. “I feel like coming out strong early kind of put them away, and they kind of put their heads down early and it was kind over after that first quarter.”
The loss for Barrington (10-16) was its seventh in its last 9 games. Zach Bart led the Broncos with 12 points and Rapolas Ivanauskas added 9 and a team-high 6 rebounds, but 13 first quarter turnovers and a red-hot shooting Storm was a deficit too much to overcome.
“You dig a hole, then you’ve got to get desperate which played into their hands even more,” Broncos coach Bryan Tucker said. “We didn’t come ready play, they came out, played hard, made shots, defended, it’s pretty simple when you turn the ball over, don’t defend, don’t box out, you’re going to have a long night.”
Barrington wasn’t great shooting the ball either, nailing 18 shots at a 41.8 percent measure. The Broncos failed to outrebound South Elgin 22-21 and could not solve the South Elgin full court pressure, which stymied the Broncos from the beginning.
“We have to start using our exceptional skill level and our athleticism to our benefit,” Petersen said. “And I thought we did a great job of that to start the game, really force them to play the style we wanted to play and that’s what helped us get out to the big lead.”