Miszkiewicz's triple double leads South Elgin past Glenbard East
Less than a minute remained in the first half Thursday when South Elgin center Vince Miszkiewicz blocked a shot by Glenbard East guard Mashar Lewis.
It was Miszkiewicz's first block of the game and an sign of things to come.
Miszkiewicz, a 6-foot-7 senior, did to Glenbard East shots what windshield wipers do to rain drops. He blocked a personal-best 11 shots and added a game-high 16 points and 17 rebounds to record his first triple-double.
The visiting Storm needed every bit of that production to hold off upset-minded Glenbard East 56-50 in Upstate Eight Conference action in Lombard.
"I'm usually this aggressive," Miszkiewicz said. "I knew I had to guard the house tonight for us to win.
"I watched a lot of film and they like to drive. So I knew I could help off my guy a little bit more and help block those shots, which led to a lot of fast breaks and a lot of points for us in transition."
But in the first half, Miszkiewicz made more of an impact on the offensive end. He tallied 9 points, including 2 of his 3 dunks, and dished all 4 of his assists for South Elgin (12-5, 6-1), which was without point guard Drake Montgomery.
"That was the best game I've seen him passing," South Elgin coach Brett Johnson said. "He was distributing the ball well and getting some nice easy looks for other players, which then opens his opportunities to finish and make the team better."
For a while, it wasn't clear which team was better. Glenbard East (6-10, 2-5) shot 2-for-19 in the first quarter but used a 12-0 run to start the second quarter to go up 17-13 following back-to-back 3-pointers from guards Daron Hall and Jeremy Johnson.
The Rams led 23-22 before Miszkiewicz scored on a dunk and a putback to give the Storm a 26-23 halftime cushion.
But the real revelation came in the third quarter, which Miszkiewicz utterly dominated despite not scoring a point or attempting a shot. He blocked 7 shots in the period, including 3 on a single possession. At one point, the Rams missed 8 straight shots, 6 of which were rejected by Miszkiewicz, and the Storm ran off 10 straight points to take their largest lead, 36-25, on a 3-pointer from Drew Cwik.
"After my first block I was more into the game," Miszkiewicz said. "I was ready to go and then I knew on that (one) possession that I had to block as many shots as I could because I knew they were driving.
"They got the offensive rebounds off my blocks, but I just held my position down there and helped out my team any way I could."
Cwik and fellow guard Jace Warrick helped the Storm by sinking a combined 4 3-pointers. Cwik finished with 12 points and Warrick had 11.
Even so, the Rams twice pulled within 4 points in the fourth quarter. Deon Cook's layup cut the gap to 51-47 with 2:14 left and Glenbard East had a chance to get even closer, but Miszkiewicz blocked Cook on the next possession and the Storm scored the next 6 points.
Hall and Alijah Nelson each scored 12 points to lead the Rams, which had a two-game winning streak snapped.
"(Miszkiewicz) is their best player and their best player was the best player in the game," Glenbard East coach Scott Miller said. "He was a difference-maker, especially in that third quarter.
"But we had our chances. I just felt like we had a couple breakdowns defensively that wouldn't allow us to get over the hump. We've got to be better than that."