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Illiana Christian High School Metro Suburban Blue
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Fourth-quarter outburst leads ICCP to victory
Updated Dec 12, 2017 10:48 PM
The IC Catholic Prep boys basketball team saved its best for last Tuesday. Fenton went toe to toe with the Knights for three quarters of the teams’ Metro Suburban Blue matchup, but then something happened — the fourth quarter.ICCP nearly ran the table in the period, scoring the first 18 points and giving up only a layup by Fenton senior forward Amari Reed with two seconds left. That performance broke wide open a 25-25 tie at the end of the third quarter and propelled the Knights to a 43-27 victory.“I think we just kind of woke up a little,” said senior guard Kevin Cheng, who scored 9 of the Knights’ 18 in the fourth quarter. “I think we were kind of just were on cruise control a little. We woke up, went to man (defense) and became the aggressor in the game.”Added senior forward Nico Gaudio, who along with his sophomore brother Dominic held former ICCP player Reed to just a bucket in the second half after he scored 11 in the first: “I’ve played against him for three years, so I know how he plays, and I knew locking him down was a main goal of the team, because he’s their best player.”The big run for ICCP (6-2, 2-1) started innocently enough, with a Nico Gaudio layup surrounded by three Fenton defenders at the 7:24 mark. By 5:40, when Cheng nailed a 3-pointer from the right arc off an inbound pass, the run had increased to 9-0. Cheng added insult to injury for Fenton on its next possession, scoring a layup off a steal.By the time Cheng sank his final two free throws, with 11.9 seconds left, the game was well out of reach for Fenton (1-5, 0-2).“Yeah, 18-0 run … man,” said Bison coach Chaz Taft. “That’s what we talked about in the locker room. They’re going to come with a run, and how are we going to handle that? That’s what we’ve got to learn from right now.”Reed was a force in the first half, scoring 6 in a 9-1 Bison run midway through the second quarter, including a 3 from the top left of the key with 1:23 left before the half, where Fenton held a 20-16 advantage.But the Gaudio brothers spent most of their time in the second half disrupting Reed’s shots or forcing him to pass off, thanks to coach T.J. Tyrrell’s shift to a man defense after a lackluster 3-2 zone in the first half. Reed went just 1 for 5 in the half and missed a trio of 3s in the fourth quarter.Reed scored 13 to lead the Bison, but no other player had more than 4. As a team, Fenton shot 37 percent from the field, but just 1 for 7 in the fourth quarter.Meanwhile, the Knights shot 6 for 8 in the fourth, en route to a 56 percent mark for the game. Cheng led all scorers with 16, while Nico Gaudio and senior Khalil Saunders each had 9. All that was accomplished without sharpshooting senior forward Alex Meurer, who was unavailable Tuesday.“I thought the guys did an outstanding job in letting the defense dictate the offensive play,” said Tyrrell, who got his 100th victory Tuesday. “The kids came out focused after halftime and were really composed.”