Elgin nips Elk Grove for Hess' first win
On Tuesday, Elgin scored just 20 points in its loss to Wheaton Warrenville South at the 31st annual Chuck Mitchell Fenton High School Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament in Bensenville.
On Friday, Elgin ripped off 22 points -- in the fourth quarter. The final 2 points came on a layup by Cameron Muller with 4 seconds left as the Maroons toppled Elk Grove 58-57.
It was the first win for Elgin head coach and Hersey graduate Dave Hess, after taking over the Elgin job this season.
"It is always nice to get the first win," Hess said. " I was hoping to get it earlier. But the boys played hard."
With the Maroons (1-2) trailing 57-56, Hess called timeout. He drew up a play for Muller that worked to perfection.
Xavier Bonds dribbled down the left side and Muller slid off a screen to pick a up a perfect pass from Bonds. Muller then laid the ball into the hoop.
"It was great call by coach," said Muller, who finished with 7 points. "It was a great screen by my teammates and a great pass by Xavier Bonds. I just finished the game. It was just like anything. We are hungry. We need these wins."
Hess said that his team came together down the stretch.
"It is a new system and new coach," Hess said. "There are a lot of guys that are new here to varsity basketball. We are still gelling at all places. Game experience gives you something to offer them."
Elgin appeared to come up way short in the experience department in the first quarter when the Maroons turned the ball over 9 times. Elk Grove (1-2) took full advantage of the miscues and took a 17-7 lead.
It was 19-9 when Elgin turned thing around thanks to the play of Bonds. The junior came off the bench and gave the Maroons some instant energy.
"We have been just staying focused in practice," Bonds said. "I always want to give my team energy. That is one of my roles."
Bonds sparked the Maroons to close out the half on a 16-2 run, scoring the final 10 points to get a 25-23 lead at the break.
Elk Grove responded in the second half by getting its two big men, 6-foot-7 Ryne Singsank and 6-4 Tim Varga, involved. The duo powered the Grens back in front to lead 49-44 with 4:57 to play.
It was Elk Grove's turn to have trouble with taking care of the ball. The Grens turned it over on 3 consecutive possessions as the Maroons pulled ahead 52-51 with 2:40to play.
After a tie and three lead changes, Elgin took the lead on a 3-pointer by Trey Yarber with 1:38 to play to pull ahead 56-54. Elk Grove charged right back and took a 57-56 lead on a 3 of its own by Riley Rathman with 1 minute to play.
After a turnover by Elgin, Elk Grove had a chance to salt the game away. But the Grens turned the ball over themselves, giving the Maroons the chance they needed to win.
"We took some bad shots and turned the ball over," Elk Grove coach Nick Oraham said. "We let teams hang around and eventually they are going to make you pay and Elgin made us pay."
Rathman led Elk Grove with 22 points. Singsank had 12 points and 9 rebounds, Varga had 10 points and 10 rebounds while Michael Achanzar chipped in 9 points.
Bonds came off the bench to lead Elgin with 16 points. Yarber had 13 points with three 3-pointers while Jeffrey Lomax had 8 points.