Big second half puts Elgin in Marengo title game
Elgin completed quite a dramatic turnaround Tuesday night.
The Maroons trailed North Boone by 10 points at the start of the third quarter, but then turned up the intensity and wound up with an easy 76-55 victory in the semifinals of the E.C. Nichols boys basketball holiday tournament in Marengo.
Elgin plays Rockford Christian, which beat Woodstock 66-55 in the other semifinal, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday for the title.
Kyle Hoffman scored the first basket of the second half to put North Boone ahead 36-26, but Elgin outscored the Vikings 50-19 the rest of the way.
"We're like a prize fighter who doesn't know he's in a fight until he takes a hit to the face," said Elgin coach Mike Sitter. "We took a hit to the face in the first half and we came out fighting in the second half. That was good to see."
The Maroons turned it up on both ends of the court. They took the ball to the basket after settling too often for 3-pointers in the first half.
"We didn't shoot a lot of 3s in the second half," said Sitter. "We took it to the rim. We didn't settle. We came out way too passive at the beginning of the game. We settled for the first open jumper instead of getting to the rim."
Elgin also ratcheted up the defensive intensity several notches. After forcing just 3 first-half turnovers, they created 14 in the second half.
"That's how we play our game," said Desmond Douglas, who led Elgin with 23 points. "We're going to push the action and force the other team to make mistakes and make quick decisions and turn the ball over. That's 2 points or 3 points for us at the other end."
Offensively, "we took it one possession at a time," he said. "Coach's favorite saying is that no one possession is going to win the game. I guess we took that to heart in the second half, and we took it to the basket."
Douglas made 10 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter to help keep the Maroons comfortably ahead. Lavion Baldwin added 20 points and Reggie Cole 18 for Elgin (9-4). Courtese Cooper had 6 rebounds and 4 blocks.
Hoffman finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds for North Boone.
After falling behind by 10 in the third, Elgin used a 9-0 run to get back in the game. After the Vikings pushed the lead to 4, the Maroons went on a 21-5 tear to open a double-digit lead 2 minutes into the fourth. Baldwin, Cole, and Douglas scored all the Maroons' points during the run.