York holds off IC Catholic Prep
Basketball -- it's a game of runs.
Often runs look like this: Whatever you can do, I can do better.
Take Wednesday night's battle of Elmhurst between host York and IC Catholic Prep boys basketball teams, a game York won 49-40.
The Dukes reeled off a 10-2 run to close the first quarter, putting them up 16-9. The highlight was back-to-back 3-pointers by senior guard Nate Shockey, who finished with a game-high 24 points.
Not to be outdone, the Knights responded with a 15-2 spurt midway through the second quarter, including 3-point baskets from junior Michael Hilgart and seniors Zach Jordan and Dominic Gaudio. That cut the halftime score to a deficit of just 27-26.
Pretty impressive. But York sophomore forward Nick Hesch decided to have the last word.
Hesch punctuated a 13-0 Dukes' run to start the third quarter, including a pair of 3s and a slick alley-oop layup from senior guard Jeff Grace.
ICCP finished the game by outscoring York 11-5 in the fourth quarter to make the final score respectable, but damage done.
"At the start of the third quarter, I thought I needed to step up and help my team," said Hesch, whose 8 points all came in that third-quarter run. "They really provided me with those opportunities, like on those two 3s I got two really nice passes. It's all about my team. My team got me the ball, and they gave those opportunities. I've got to knock them down for them."
Hesch's heroics left his coach, Vince Doran, with a smile.
"When you're in a 1-point game like that, the kids feel some pressure," Doran said. "Nick made timely plays for us. I thought the early third quarter, that was obviously a big sequence there. He's a talented sophomore. We have high expectations for him."
But consider the fact that the Knights wouldn't have been able to put Hesch in that position without their big run at the end of the first half.
After a pair of York buckets, Hilgart hit a 3 from the right corner and Gaudio hit his off a miss by senior Danny Cronin. Jordan added his with 1:47 left, and 10 seconds later, Gaudio added a pair of free throws.
Suddenly, it looked like the Knights might carry all the momentum into the second half.
"When we get our teammates involved, and once our defense gets going, it motivates us on the offensive end," Gaudio said. "We get the fast pace, we get the easy layups, the open threes. We find teammates. It's just great team basketball."
Junior Chauncey Lee had a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and finished with 16 points and 7 rebounds. Cronin added 4 points and 8 boards.
But the Knights were hamstrung by 18 turnovers.
"We need to a much better job handling the ball," ICCP coach T.J. Tyrrell said. "This year we've been an outstanding team in terms of keeping our turnovers low. That wasn't the case tonight. They sped us up a little bit."