Schaumburg gets past Hoffman

 
By Howard Schlossberg
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/9/2019 12:07 AM

While Schaumburg's boys basketball team will tell you it still has a lot of work to do, the Saxons almost didn't do enough Friday night at home and Hoffman Estates almost made them pay.

Schaumburg's 55-42 Mid-Suburban West win sets up next Friday's division showdown with Fremd, but Hoffman came close to playing spoiler.

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Every time it looked like the Saxons were ready to put away a Hawks team hobbled by injury and foul trouble, the pesky Hawks refused to go away and neither team cleared its bench until under 1:30 was left in the game.

"They're a good team. They're well-coached," victorious coach Wade Heisler said of the Hawks, who played well above their 6-17, 1-8 record.

Fortunately for the Saxons, on Senior Night, they fought off three key chances Hoffman had to get the lead under 10 in the second half, as the Hawks missed two 3-pointers and another tough shot against taller, defensive-minded Schaumburg.

"We hang our hats on defense," said Heisler.

"We've got to stay composed," said Heze Trotter, one of the team leaders, whose 13 points were key in establishing the double-digit lead in the first half which Hoffman was never able to crack.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

A 15-point run, first quarter into second, keyed Schaumburg's advantage, as Chris Hodges came off the bench and was impossible to guard inside, scoring three hoops in tight, the last one making it 27-11 for Schaumburg (19-5, 8-1).

Trotter got inside against Hoffman's short-lived zone and then got a breakaway layup off a turnover. Michael Hodges added two drives and what appeared would be a rout was on, as Arnie Karnik added 5 points in the first quarter and Christian Orozco burned the Hawks for a pair of 3-pointers when they sagged down on Chris Hodges.

Hoffman refused to quit though. Rudra Patel kept finding his way to the basket, finishing with 15 points before leaving for the night with a twisted ankle. Marquez Woodard gave Schaumburg fits with his quick hands, helping force 18 turnovers, and Nate Fisher and foul-troubled Sheldon Barnett-Morales went toe to toe with Chris Hodges inside.

"I love our heart," said Hawks coach Luke Yanule. "Our energy was great. We had three great chances. Could've got it down to 7." In the end, Yanule noted though, "We didn't make enough shots. You've got to make shots."

"We've just got to control the pace," Trotter said though of looking ahead to Fremd for the division title. "We've just got to be us."

"Hopefully, we'll be ready for Fremd next week," said Heisler. But he expects to be because, "We have such great chemistry on this team."

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