Too much of Glenbard East's Cook in West Chicago's kitchen
Glenbard East's Deon Cook doesn't think he's much of a shooter. Cat-quick, there are other ways he contributes on the basketball court.
The junior guard paced a 16-0 third-quarter run Tuesday against West Chicago. That propelled a 42-point second half and a 64-58 Upstate Eight Conference win on senior night in Lombard.
"I think Deon Cook was the difference in the game," said Rams coach Scott Miller. "He had that four-minute stretch where his ball pressure (caused) three steals in a row and he either fed a guy or finished it himself. He was great and he had a big impact on the game."
Cook made 5 steals, and scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half. He doesn't fancy himself a shooter yet he went 5 of 8 from the floor and 5 of 5 from the foul line.
"I'm more of a driver, so when I get a steal it's much easier for me to score," said Cook, who joined Antonio Davis and Alijah Nelson all between 10-15 points. DaRon Hall's 20 points tied West Chicago's Sam Ricci overall.
"My point of view is to stop the ball because during this season we haven't been able to stop the ball very well and they've been able to go down (court)," Cook said.
West Chicago (9-18, 2-14) started fast behind the 6-foot-4 Ricci, whose three 3-pointers paced an 18-11 lead after one quarter. When Ricci drew his second foul at 7:37 of the second quarter the Wildcats were humming well enough for him to sit the rest of the half.
Getting contributions throughout the lineup, West Chicago made 7 of 10 second-quarter free throws and Isaac Nelson found both Jacob Lim and Matt Brotnow with crisp passes for inside baskets and a 31-22 halftime lead.
"In the first half we were finding our teammates," said West Chicago coach Bill Recchia. "We did a great job of distributing the ball, making the extra pass."
While Recchia later told his team 32 minutes of that will yield positive results, at halftime the Rams had their own talk.
"We had a slow start, but in the second half after the talk everybody got going," said the 6-6 Davis, who recorded 13 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks. "Everybody started moving more, we started swinging the ball more, and defense was the biggest part of tonight, in the second half."
After Ricci swished West Chicago's first shot of the third quarter, Glenbard East (12-15, 8-8) got busy.
Nelson penetrated and dished to Davis, and Jeremy Johnson hit a 3 on ball rotation from Davis and Anthony Shockey. Then Davis got handsy, which in turn sparked Hall. The 16-0 run gave the Rams a 38-34 lead. They led 41-38 after three quarters.
An additional 12-2 run built a 53-40 Rams lead. Despite a flurry of 3s by West Chicago 18-point score Jordan Wilkins, Glenbard East moved to .500 in the Upstate Eight.
"We took more pride in defense in the second half," Davis said.