Montgomery leads South Elgin over Streamwood
Playing against each other for the third time in 41 days, the basketball teams from South Elgin and Streamwood have fast become familiar foes.
However, South Elgin added a "new" wrinkle during Thursday night's rubber match.
Senior point guard Drake Montgomery, who missed the first game between the teams (South Elgin won 71-63) with an injury and rolled his ankle in the first quarter of the rematch at the Jacobs Holiday Tournament (Streamwood won 70-58), successfully made it through the third meeting and the Storm (16-6, 9-2) reaped the benefits.
Montgomery poured in a game-high 25 points and added 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals while helping lead South Elgin to a hard-fought 59-55 Upstate Eight Conference victory over Streamwood (8-14, 4-7) in South Elgin.
"It was fun and exciting to play against them," said Montgomery, who connected on his first 6 field-goal attempts while accounting for half (15) of his team's first-half points as the Storm led 30-27 at the intermission.
"They beat us down last time (we played) so I knew my team needed me this game."
Montgomery scored a good portion of his points on drives to the basket in addition to knocking down a pair of 3-pointers and 5 of 7 free throws.
"Drake was an offensive difference maker because he was aggressive," said Storm coach Brett Johnson. "He's able to get to the basket and attack."
Using a starting lineup that included sophomores Zach Marquez, Jakobe Strong and Darrel Luce to go with senior veterans Keenon Cole and Nikola Sinik, the Sabres got off to a fast start.
Streamwood extended its lead to 18-9 late in the first quarter on Cole's layup before Montgomery answered at the other end with back-to-back buckets as the Storm pulled within 18-13.
South Elgin took its first lead at 26-25 late in the second quarter on the first of 4 thunderous slam dunks by 6-foot-7 senior center Vincent Miszkiewicz, who just missed a rare triple-double with 23 points, 14 rebounds and 8 steals.
After the Storm stretched the lead to 40-33 midway through the third quarter, the Sabres went on a 9-2 run to tie the game at 42-42.
The comeback included a steal and layup from Marquez (6 points, 4 rebounds), a 3-point basket by freshman Richard Santiago (6 points) and a nifty spin move from NIU-bound Cole (24 points, 19 rebounds, 4 blocked shots).
"I thought our kids battled," said Sabres coach Kent Payne. "They'd get in a hole and fight back but that's part of playing younger kids now. Darrel (Luce), Jakobe (Strong) and Kyle (Maybrun) -- this is their second varsity game.
"We put in a freshman, Richard (Santiago), and he did the best job on Montgomery plus he hit a couple big 3-pointers. He had a fearless mindset. That's what we want to see."
Cole's 3-point play gave the Sabres a 50-48 lead with 6 minutes remaining before the Storm went on an 11-1 surge over the next 5 ½ minutes to seal the decision.
Miszkiewicz drained a 3-pointer from the wing with 4:02 left to put South Elgin on top to stay at 52-50.
"I'm proud of him," said Johnson. "He's not afraid to shoot that shot. It went in and then we executed down the stretch."