Copying an infamous quote from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, St. Charles East boys basketball coach Patrick Woods simply wanted some observers to R-E-L-A-X following last weekend's 61-56 loss to cross-town rival St. Charles North.
The Saints (5-2, 1-1) bounced back in a big way Friday night, knocking off visiting Elgin (1-5, 0-3) 80-37 in Upstate Eight Conference River Division action.
"We basically lost two games by a total of five points," said Woods, whose team dropped a 62-60 decision to St. Joseph in its own Ron Johnson Thanksgiving Tournament.
"Sometimes people want to push the panic button but first of all we lost to two very good teams -- two top-25 teams in the state in my opinion. I guarantee you there's going to be others (conference teams) with losses as well. We aren't down and out by any means. It's about getting better every day."
Against Elgin, St. Charles East used a 15-0 run that began late in the first quarter and carried over into the second quarter to build a substantial double-digit lead.
Senior guard Zach Robinson (12 points, 7 rebounds) keyed the surge with 10 of those 15 points, connecting on three 3-pointers, as the Saints turned a 13-7 lead into a 28-7 advantage midway through the second quarter.
"Last year, I actually had a decent start but I had one bad game and my confidence drained," said Robinson, who scored a game-high 21 points in last Friday's loss to St. Charles North. "This year, I decided to be confident the whole year. I think I put in enough work so my confidence won't go away."
"That improvement is from an off-season of a lot of hard work," Woods said of Robinson. "I hope and I wish that our younger guys see that."
St. Charles East led 38-16 at halftime and 59-27 after 3 quarters, extending the margin to as many as 39 points at 70-31 following a 3-point basket by junior Mark Musial (7 points, 5 rebounds) midway through the fourth quarter.
By that point, Woods had long emptied his bench, which accounted for nearly half (36) of the Saints' scoring total.
Sophomore Aidan Sullivan and senior Zach Matheny led the reserves with 8 points apiece.
Senior forward Justin Hardy paced the Saints with 13 points, including a pair of thunderous 2-hand dunks, while junior Nate Ortiz added 11, including three 3-pointers.
The Saints shot 59 percent (34 for 58) from the field, including 43 percent from 3-point range (9 for 21), but struggled at the free-throw line (3 for 13).
"We've got to keep working on that," said Woods. "It was nice to get back on the winning track and it was nice to get some guys some minutes. They work hard and deserve it."
Dan Toolsie and Xavier Bonds scored 6 points each for Elgin.
"Seven of our first eight shots were good shots -- we just didn't hit them," said Maroons coach Mike Sitter. "Against a team like that, you've got to knock down some shots and we didn't knock down shots."