Wauconda's inside game does in Elgin

By Marty Maciaszek
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/24/2014 9:19 PM

Wauconda found a lot of comfort inside with its height advantage in Monday night's opening game of the Richmond-Burton/Johnsburg Boys Varsity Basketball Tournament.

That forced Elgin into a lot of outside discomfort offensively as Wauconda took control midway through the second quarter and cruised to a 59-33 victory at Lou Ramirez Gymnasium in Richmond.


Six-foot-7 senior Ben Carlson scored a career-high 21 points on 10-for-18 shooting and had 9 of the Bulldogs' 32-25 rebound advantage. Their matchup zone stymied Elgin as its 25 percent shooting from the field (11-for-44), with 6-for-22 on 3-pointers, was compounded by 29 turnovers.

"I think our defense is one of the best defenses in the (North Suburban Prairie)," said junior guard Dylan Latiolais, whose 6 assists helped Wauconda shoot 50 percent from the field (24-for-48). "I think we can go against anybody and it really showed tonight. Hopefully we can do that all tournament.

"If we feed the post like we're supposed to we can really do some damage this year." That was evident on consecutive second-quarter possessions where Latiolais found Carlson for short turnarounds. Six-6 senior Ricky Sidlowski had 7 points and 6 assists and 6-6 senior Paul Redmann was another matchup problem for an Elgin team whose tallest starter was 6-2 junior Lavion Baldwin (16 points on 6-for-19 shooting).

Carlson and Sidlowski did all of the scoring in a 14-point run that bridged halftime and put Wauconda up 31-12. Five of their baskets came off feeds by Latiolais and classmates Zac Lahrman (11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) and Bryan Nee.

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"We're looking to mesh and it turned out pretty well," Carlson said of the mix of seniors inside and juniors outside. "We have all the experience with our posts and our guards are all shooters. I think it's blending pretty well and it's only going to get better."

Elgin was just 5-for-32 from the field and had 25 turnovers when another Carlson short turnaround put Wauconda up 43-17 with 6:41 to play.

"We knew they would be athletic, so we wanted to keep it tight inside and force them to shoot jumpshots," said Wauconda coach Scott Luetschwager, whose team scored 23 points off turnovers. "We said to take the drive first and show us if they could shoot the outside shot and we really shut them down. We got some easy runouts off it and some good rebounds led to layups."

Wauconda will have much more sizable challenges at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday against Crystal Lake South and at 7 p.m. Friday against Richmond-Burton in pool play. CL South, which has 6-9 Josh Friesen and 6-5 Weston Buckner, won Monday's second game 70-68 over R-B and highly-touted 6-9 sophomore Joey St. Pierre.

Elgin hopes it got some growing pains out of the way after Baldwin scored 11 of his points and hit all three of his 3-pointers in the final 5:20. Junior Desmond Douglas had 6 assists but the starting five was also pulled for 5½ minutes in the third quarter by head coach Mike Sitter.

"We tried to preface that the biggest difference in levels, from freshman to sophomore and sophomore to varsity, is in the speed of the game," Sitter said. "We weren't ready for the speed of the game and it showed. We just didn't make good decisions and didn't perform very well.

"You can't control if you are smaller than the other team but you can control if you play harder than them. (The reserves) gave us effort and I'll take effort over skill any day."

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