A.J. Washington should have no problem remembering his last basket on St. Charles East's home floor.
With the game already in hand, the 6-foot-5 senior forward applied the exclamation mark to his varsity home career as his emphatic 2-hand reverse dunk with 11 seconds remaining capped the Saints' 80-67 victory over Metea Valley (15-12) during Friday's Upstate Eight Conference crossover series between the second-place finishers in their respective divisions.
"I saw the opportunity and I just took it," said Washington, who finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals as the Saints (16-11) stretched their season-best winning streak to 4.
While the high-flying Washington drew a technical foul from the officials for hanging on the rim, he didn't seem to mind too much.
"This one was for the fans, especially Mitch Munroe leading the student section," said Washington. "I just did it for them."
Saints coach Patrick Woods, who guided the team to back-to-back 15-win seasons the past 2 years, was pleased with Washington's all-around effort.
"A.J. has been a force for us all year," said Woods. "I was really happy he was able to end with a two-hand reverse -- that's a great way to play your last game in this gym."
Junior guard Cole Gentry paced a balanced Saints attack with 20 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and a pair of steals while Jake Asquini and James McQuillan added 15 and 10 points, respectively.
Gentry, who made 9 of his 13 field-goal attempts, created plenty of defensive problems for the Mustangs.
"I just tried to come out and get everybody involved and be conscious that I needed to score a little more for us to be successful," said Gentry. "I tried to be aggressive going to the rim the whole game."
"Cole is a great floor general," said Woods. "He's fast and great with the ball. He has the ability to get by people and finish. It is kind of what I expect from him because that's what he's capable of doing all the time."
Asquini, who drained five 3-pointers, Washington and Gentry combined for 22 of the team's 25 first-quarter points as St. Charles East built a 25-13 lead.
The Saints extended their lead to 38-19 with 2:48 left in the second quarter and still owned a 40-28 halftime advantage.
Sparked by senior guard Marquell Oliver (21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals) and junior center Mark Konkle (18 points, 13 rebounds), Metea Valley trimmed the deficit to 44-37 midway through the third quarter.
However, the Saints once again found the range from beyond the arc as junior forward Mick Vyzral (5 points, 9 rebounds) nailed a 3-pointer and junior guard Jake Clodi (6 points) knocked down a pair of 3s in the final 57 seconds to extend the lead to 57-43 after 3 quarters.
St. Charles East, which opens Class 4A regional tournament action Monday against Streamwood at St. Charles North, avenged last month's 82-73 loss to Metea Valley.
"We watched film and it was bad," admitted Gentry. "We saw eight or nine points that we could make up in the first 10 possessions. We knew we did not play our best game against them the first time."
Sidelined since suffering a sprained ankle one week earlier against Elgin, senior guard Dom Adduci played the final 1:19 and sank the Saints' 12th 3-pointer of the contest with 1 minute remaining.
"It's the last time on this court," said Woods. "He has done so much work on this court. I never anticipated he'd get a 3 in the corner but I'm happy that he did."