St. Edward shoots past Alden-Hebron
St. Edward boys basketball coach P.J. White is often more vocal than the soft-spoken approach he took Wednesday night.
White, who typically can shout with the best of them either on the court or the football field, joked after St. Edward's 80-54 thumping of Alden-Hebron in Pool A play of the 8th annual Westminster Christian Thanksgiving Classic in Elgin that he was "just saving his voice" for the rest of the season. But when you can barely hear anything from the outspoken White, it can raise some eyebrows.
"It's hard when you see your team struggling," said White, who used the silence as a reverse psychology of sorts. "This is not us so you kind of have to go with that a little bit."
The Green Wave (2-0) committed 6 turnovers in the first quarter and helped forced the Green Giants (0-2) into 10 of their own but only carried a 14-12 lead into the second quarter, squandering a chance to blow it open early.
And as sophomore guard Kevin Cortez-Harvey admitted, when White did speak to his team briefly during timeouts: "Coach was a little upset with how we were playing because we weren't playing our game at all. He told us to hustle more and play better and we knew we should have been beating that team by a lot more."
The silence eventually reached a fever pitch quickly as St. Edward posted back-to-back 25-point quarters in the second and third periods, and eventually the lead reached its summit at 35 midway through the fourth quarter. The Wave's smothering press in the first half and 1-3-1 trap in the second half totaled the Giants into 29 turnovers which St. Edward capitalized for 22 points.
"It was just (White) at halftime reminding us to work harder," said St. Edward senior Gino Domel. "We work on (the trap) everyday in practice. That's the goal, to get as many turnovers and steals as a possible."
Domel led the team with 15 points to go with his 5 assists, as he sank 7 of his 11 shots while seniors Joe French and Matt Hesch each scored 13 and Sean Phelan added 10 off the bench.
Cortez-Harvey added a game-high 6 steals to go with 5 assists while French also accounted for 4 of the team's 18 steals in total, leading to a 48-14 advantage in the paint.
"We played better as we got into the game, we played better in the second half, third quarter," said White. "I was happier in the second half when we stopped pressing and played some good half-court defense and got some steals and got some fast breaks off our half-court defense, not necessarily off the press."
The Wave used a 13-1 run as Domel's second chance 3-pointer pushed the lead to double digits in the second quarter and an 8-0 run to begin the third on Hesch's hot hand, scoring off back-to-back steals, widened the gap. His 3-pointer made it 47-24 with 6 minutes left as the Wave shot a 59 percent clip on 61 shots whereas Alden-Hebron, which saw Jake Heaver scored a game-high 20 points, shot 46.6 percent.