No rest for happy WW South
Midway through the third quarter it looked like Wheaton Warrenville South's boys basketball players might be able to get some needed rest on a busy Saturday afternoon.
It didn't quite work out that way despite a 27-point lead at one point, but the Tigers still beat Glenbard East 57-44 to advance to the second round of the third annual Martin Luther King tournament at WW South.
Behind a 26-point effort from Josh Ruggles, the Tigers (7-8) moved on to play Notre Dame in Saturday night's quarterfinals. WW South pulled off a big upset in that one by beating the Dons 61-56 behind Ruggles' 27 points.
The Tigers (8-8) advance to face York (10-6), which beat Marmion and Waukegan, in the semifinals at 11:30 a.m. Monday.
"We made some mistakes we've got to fix, but the fact that we withstood it and finished the game is a step for us," Ruggles said after the Glenbard East win. "We've just got to keep taking these baby steps, and I think we took one this last game."
Allowing only 4 first-quarter points helped WW South seize the lead for good against the Rams. Ruggles knocked down back-to-back 3s midway through the second quarter as the Tigers ripped to a 21-6 advantage.
Bryce Roberts opened the third quarter with a free throw for Glenbard East (8-10), but then WW South took off on a devastating 16-0 run. The Tigers forced 6 of the Rams' 19 turnovers and built a massive 42-15 lead.
"We didn't show up for the first two-and-a-half quarters, and unfortunately for us that's been our problem all year," said Rams coach Scott Miller, whose team lost 51-49 to Plainfield South in the consolation bracket Saturday night. "I know what these guys are capable of, but we need to do it for four quarters."
WW South appeared poised to go deep into its bench to prepare for a game later that day and two games on Monday, but Glenbard East stormed back. Threes by Zach Walsh and Patrick Peterkin came in the midst of a 15-0 Rams run, but that still only narrowed the gap to 42-30 early in the fourth quarter.
Peterkin's 12 points led the Rams while Terrance Lakes and Michael Finley each had 11 points. The Tigers were balanced behind Ruggles, with Eric Rasch scoring 9 points.
"We had a bad four-minute stretch, but that's how well they played that they still beat a pretty good team by 13 points," said Tigers coach Mike Healy.
Against Notre Dame the Tigers extended a second-half lead to 45-34 on a bucket by Rasch, who scored 15 points, but the Dons (14-4) twice pulled within a point in the fourth quarter. Both times WW South answered with a pair of free throws by Ruggles, who made all 10 of his fourth-quarter attempts on his way to a game-high 27 points.
Notre Dame's Joe Mooney, who scored 17 points, scored on an offensive rebound with 1:42 left to make it 57-56, but Ruggles and Matt Dacy-Seijo, who scored 11 points, hit four free throws to seal the win.
Benet 58, Metea Valley 54:
The Redwings (11-5), after beating Downers Grove South 63-50 in Saturday's opening round, held off Metea Valley (7-11) to advance to the WW South MLK Tournament semifinals at 1 p.m. Monday.
Benet will play Champaign Central, winner over Oswego and Huntley, with a berth in Monday night's title game on the line. The Mustangs, who beat Hinsdale South in the opener, play Huntley at 10 a.m. Monday.
Six times in the final three minutes Metea Valley scored to create a one-possession game, but each time Benet extended the lead at the other end. Dan Sobolewski, who led the Redwings with 16 points, tallied his team's final 6 points including a pair of victory-clinching free throws with 1.5 seconds left.
Cameron Graves scored 6 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter while Colin Bonnett added 11 points. Ron Edwards scored a game-high 19 points for the Mustangs.
Benet overcame 2-of-17 3-point shooting behind a barrage of easy buckets on layups and putbacks.
"We're disciplined, and it shows we don't need just 3s to win a game," Graves said. "We've learned how to play with each other and we know how to read defenses when our shots aren't falling. When it comes down to it, the more unselfish we are the easier it's going to be on offense."
Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_schmit