Newcomers lift St. Charles East over Hampshire
When opportunity knocks, go ahead and open the door.
St. Charles East senior forward Sean Sullivan filled the sixth man role perfectly, providing instant offense off the bench, finishing with a game-high 23 points during the Saints' 90-65 victory over Hampshire (0-1) in Monday's opening round of the 61st annual Ron Johnson Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament in St. Charles.
Sullivan, who played sparingly last year as a junior, missed his first field-goal attempt before knocking down his next 9 shots, including a pair of 3-point baskets.
The 6-foot-4 lefty tallied 11 of his points in the third quarter -- 9 of them coming during a frenetic 1-minute, 17-second span late in the period as the Saints extended their lead to 64-51.
"I honestly didn't expect to score that much -- I just wanted to do my role and come in and make shots," said Sullivan.
Fellow 6-4 senior forwards Thomas Ditsworth and Chase Monkemeyer chipped in with 17 points apiece while senior guard Luke Matheny added 11 points, 5 assists and 4 steals.
"I thought Sean (Sullivan) and Thomas (Ditsworth) kind of led the charge tonight," said Saints coach Patrick Woods. "That was great for them. What people don't realize is that Thomas had like two points all last season and Sean didn't play a lot.
"They waited their turn, they put in their time. When you get a result like that, it's really a good thing."
St. Charles East led 22-15 after one quarter and 43-35 at halftime before extending the margin to double digits at 66-56 after three quarters.
Then the Saints sealed the deal by outscoring the Whip-Purs 24-9 in the fourth quarter.
"It was the pace of play -- that's what we're striving for this year," said Woods, whose team scored 20-plus points in every quarter. "We have 13 really good players so we can just rotate guys in all day long.
"I think it's going to be hard for teams to withstand that pace for 32 minutes."
The lightning-quick pace created some problems for the Whip-Purs, who committed 28 turnovers, including 10 in the second quarter.
"That led to a lot of their offense," said Hampshire coach Mike Featherly. "We turned it over way too many times. When we took care of it, we were dangerous but way too many turnovers."
Hampshire had five players reach double figures, led by Collin Woods with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists.
Keynan Davis added 11 points while Jeremy Rosa Jr., Nicholas Erickson and sophomore Adam Ugochukwu had 10 points each.
"It's the first game so you expect a little bit of sloppiness -- it's part of the process," said Featherly, who was coaching the boys team for the first time after 17 years of coaching girls basketball.
"I thought they kind of wore us down. I know that's what they wanted to do and it worked."