2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 1/12/2018 8:45 PM

Tough zone, strong shooting help Conant past Hoffman Estates

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By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent

Conant used a tough 3-2 zone to put the clamps on Hoffman Estates.

The defensive effort, plus some hot shooting -- especially from the 3-point line -- led the host Cougars to a Mid-Suburban West victory Friday.

Six-foot-9 Ryan Davis scored 24 points as Conant won 57-42.

"Ryan did a great job of finding open shooters when he was doubled," said Cougars guard Ben Schols, "and when he wasn't doubled he was able to finish inside."

Schols had two 3s, Davis added 2 more and teammate Jon Kolev had 3.

"They shot the ball better than I've seen them do all year," said Hoffman Estates coach Luke Yanule of Conant. "We battled, but at the end of the day they made the shots and that was the difference in the game."

Hoffman kept the contest close early as junior Avan Harris scored 5 first-quarter points.

But a long 3 at the first-period buzzer by Schols put Conant up 15-9.

Kolev opened the second quarter with a 3, and Schols closed out the first half with another as the Cougars led by 10 at the intermission.

"Play tough, and play together," said Kolev of Conant's approach to Friday's game.

"We want to dominate inside," added Schols. "That's the game plan night after night."

Conant led by as many as 15 in the third quarter, but a 3-pointer from Marquez Woodard and a late drive to the bucket and a hoop from senior James Allen helped the Hawks cut into the deficit.

But Kolev started the fourth quarter with another 3, and Davis had two quick layups in the paint.

And when Anthony Wachal hit a layup with three minutes remaining, Conant led 51-35.

Late 3s from Hawks Marshall Davis and Adrian Punzalan weren't enough as Davis had 9 fourth-quarter points to stop any hopes of a Hoffman Estates rally.

Harris led Hoffman with 11 points and 4 rebounds, while classmate Sheldon Barnett-Morales scored 9 points.

Schols finished with 10 points for Conant, Kolev added 9, and Rajat Mittal scored 7 points.

Davis added 6 boards to his game-high point total, but it was the performance on "D" that played a big part in the victory.

"We wanted to keep them under 40 (points) and hold them under 10 points per quarter," said Wachal. "We almost did it -- they got 42 -- so we've got ways to improve."

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