After a lackluster first half, South Elgin exploded in the second half.
The Storm put up 49 points after intermission to turn a halftime deficit into a 74-56 triumph against West Chicago in an Upstate Eight Valley boys basketball matchup Wednesday in South Elgin.
South Elgin didn't necessarily do anything different in the second half, but the Storm did it better, outscoring the Wildcats 29-18 in the third quarter and maintaining a double-digit lead for most of the final period.
"We started executing some of the stuff against the zone, and I think it took them a whole half to kind of figure it out," said Storm coach Brett Johnson. "We did the right things in the first half, but we didn't make our shots. And we took quick shots rather than great shots. In the second half, we passed up a good shot to get a great shot. And we also penetrated a lot better in the second half."
Drake Montgomery was a force driving the lane and either kicking it out or taking it in himself. He scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the second half.
Vincent Miskiewicz was a force just about everywhere else, with 17 points and 18 rebounds. He added a couple of assists and a couple of blocks.
Noah Rohr scored 15 for South Elgin (16-11, 5-5), all on 3-pointers.
The Wildcats' 10-0 run late in the first half put them up 29-20. But the Storm closed the half with a conventional 3-point play by Miskiewicz and a coast-to-coast drive for a layup by Montgomery. South Elgin then scored the first 9 points of the second half to go ahead for good.
"Going into the locker room we knew we had to step up the intensity," said Montgomery. "We came out and just tried to push the ball and pick up our defense. We're a transition team, so coming out in the second half we knew we had to just look for the open guys and push the ball up the court."
With the Wildcats starting 3 players under 6 feet tall and no one taller than 6-foot-4, the 6-6 Miskiewicz was tough to defend. The Storm took full advantage of their size on the backboards as well, outrebounding the visitors 35-19.
Jason Gimre led West Chicago with 18 points, including five 3-pointers. Sam Ricci added 16 points.
"We played hard the whole game," said West Chicago coach Bill Recchia. "We just allowed them to do what they wanted to do. You can't allow teams to do what they want to do, and that's the simple explanation of what happened."
Raed Haroon added 8 points for West Chicago (9-15).