Hoffman Estates coach Luke Yanule mentioned "energy" six times after Saturday's boys basketball game.
St. Francis' seven 3-pointers in the first quarter? A momentary rift in the energy field.
"(Yanule) tells us to keep our energy up and keep working and don't keep our heads down," said Hawks 6-foot-5 junior Sheldon Barnett-Morales. "Because if we don't have our energy up then we're going to keep losing games. We kept our heads up and we won."
Initially that seemed unlikely. Hoffman Estates (5-6) weathered the barrage to beat the Spartans 68-59 to open Glenbard West's 16th Holiday Classic.
"We all love basketball, we love having fun," said Hawks guard Adrian Punzalan, whose pullup jumper with 6:58 left in the fourth quarter gave Hoffman Estates a lead, 49-47, it held for good.
"They had a good start, obviously, and we just kept playing the game and let the flow of the game come to us and just had fun," said Punzalan, whose 13 points joined Brendan Thompson and Barnett-Morales in double figures with 12 and 11, respectively.
There are good starts and there's what St. Francis (3-9) enjoyed.
The Spartans made 9 of 12 shots from the floor and 7 of 10 from 3-point range, 3 by Mike Cascella and 2 by Nick Kosmetatos. St. Francis led 25-11 after one quarter and 33-17 on John Detloff's inside bucket from Matt Cooney's assist. Detloff finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, Andrew Harvey adding 10 points.
The turnovers St. Francis caused and the shots it made in the first quarter didn't follow in the second, Yanule's key to the game. The Spartans hit 2 of 15 from the floor.
"Every team is good when they're allowed to run things. When it starts to get ramped up defensively, people have to make plays and finish at the basket," said St. Francis coach Erin Dwyer, who noted Hoffman Estates scored 16 second-half points off turnovers.
Slicing the deficit to 34-22 by halftime, Hoffman Estates outscored St. Francis 46-25 in the second half.
"I wanted it 10 at halftime, it was 12," Yanule said. "Came inside the locker room, said, 'OK, fine. It's 12, we're right there.'"
The Hawks flew in the third quarter, making 9 of 13 shots with big 3s by Avan Harris and Marquez Woodard. In the fourth Barnett-Morales, Thompson and James Allen all converted three-point plays and the Hawks made 16 of 21 free throws.
The Spartans, on the other hand, made 5 of 19 fourth-quarter shots.
"The pressure definitely got to us a little bit," said Cascella, whose 15 points all came on 3-pointers. "I feel like if we handled the pressure a little better and just stuck with our sets, we could have had a better outcome for that game."