Elgin downs Streamwood; Larkin up next
The beat goes on at least one more game for head coach Mike Sitter and the Elgin High boys basketball team -- and a big game it will be.
Sitter, who after 11 years is leaving at the end of the season to take over as athletic director at Hampshire, will get one more shot at Elgin's arch nemesis Larkin in Tuesdays Class 4A regional semifinals at St. Charles North. The Maroons advanced after knocking off Streamwood 53-43 in the opening round on Monday.
Larkin and Elgin will meet for the third time this year. The Royals have won the last 15 meetings between the two teams.
"It will be nice to get another chance to play Larkin," Sitter said. "It's been a while since we've beat them, so we have our work cut out for us. It will be a fun atmosphere and that's what the postseason is all about. We'll need to make our shots and take care of the basketball. We can't be stagnant on offense. We have to be active to give ourselves any chance."
Elgin took care of business against the Sabres with a strong defensive effort, limiting Streamwood to just 15 of 47 (32 percent) and forcing 21 turnovers. The Maroons held the Sabres' top scoring threat, Keenon Cole, to just 5 points.
"It's nice to see young men execute a game plan," Sitter said. "The goal was to limit Cole in the post. Roy Panthier did a real nice job denying him the ball and the other guys did great with help side defense.'
The Maroons took control with an 8-0 run midway through the second quarter to go up 20-14. A couple of baskets during the run came off steals, including a slam dunk by Dan Toolsie, who had a team-high 14 points.
"I'm only 5-foot-11 so I don't get too many chances to do that," Toolsie said. "But I like to do it because it always gets everybody going. The big thing for us tonight was everybody helped get this win. It wasn't just a couple guys. Everybody stepped up."
The Maroons (11-18) led by at least 5 points the rest of the way.
Daz Cooks gave the Maroons a spark off the bench with 9 points in the second half.
"Daz gave us a lot of energy," Sitter said. "And we needed it. He was able to get into the lane and create. He gave us another scoring option. He got the hot hand and we rode with him the rest of the way. He was pretty much out there the whole second half."
Streamwood (11-19) struggled to get anything going offensively in part because Cole was hobbled by an ankle injury the he suffered in the Sabres' last game.
"Keenon being hurt definitely set us back," Streamwood coach Paul Kowalyszyn said. "Throwing over the top to him wasn't an option and they did a great job of fronting him. It's a tough loss, but I think the program took some good steps forward. It's the first time we have had double digit wins in a long time. We have a good core returning. We just have to continue to teach them a better understanding of the game."