Waukegan dumps St. Viator

By Greg Swiderski
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/12/2019 11:11 PM

The Waukegan Bulldogs used their pressure defense to their advantage in defeating St. Viator Saturday night in the inaugural Steve Pappas Shootout at DePaul College Prep in Chicago.

Pappas was a longtime head coach at Gordon Tech, now named DePaul, and at Deerfield before passing away from complications from non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2006 at the age of 54.


"We wanted to pressure St. Viator with our defensive traps," said Waukegan coach Ron Ashlaw. "It's what we wanted to do. Those turnovers gave us momentum in the first quarter."

Momentum it did for the Bulldogs in their 71-58 win over the Lions.

"The turnovers in the first quarter hurt us," said St. Viator coach Quin Hayes. "We didn't handle the pressure well. They played a good game and beat us. But, we still had some good positives. As the game went on we adjusted better to their press."

With St. Viator (14-4) leading 5-4 early in the game, Waukegan (14-4) used a 10-0 run to take control.

Jaylin Cunningham scored off a Lion turnover and Bryant Brown scored back-to-back baskets on turnovers for a 14-5 lead with 3:22 left in the quarter.

"Our defense helped our intensity," said Brown. "We got ourselves hyped up to play good defense. This was good momentum for us. We know we beat a good team in St. Viator."

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With Jeremiah Hernandez scoring 13 of his team-high 25 points in the first half and Connor Kochera notching 15 of his 17, the Lions stayed close at the halftime break trailing 38-31.

Following 2 free throws by Hernandez, who hit 12 of 13, with 4:35 left in the third quarter, St. Viator trailed by 5 at 43-38.

The floodgates opened for the Bulldogs as Cunningham (12 points) put back an offensive rebound and followed with 2 free throws. Andre White, who led Waukegan with 21 points, connected on a 3-pointer which was followed by Jordan Brown's basket. The 9-0 run put the Lions in a 52-38 hole. At the end of the quarter Waukegan led 57-42 and the Lions were not able to recover.

With senior guard Treyvon Calvin out with a broken left hand for the next 4-6 weeks the Lions have to regroup before facing St. Patrick in Arlington Heights next Friday.

"We'll have to bounce back from these two losses this weekend," said Kochera. "We just need to get readjusted to different positions. We're going to see pressure from teams and our goal is to get back to be able to handle the pressure."

Michael Campagna added 9 points for the Lions in the loss.

"It's certainly not the end of the world," said Hayes. "Tonight we had some good open shots but they didn't fall. Next week in practice we will try some guys to see who will fit in different roles. We're still a good team at 14-4. We know we have a tough schedule this month. We just want to get better."

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