Defense has become Schaumburg's staple
It's no mystery why Schaumburg performed so well at the competitive Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament at York over Christmas.
The Saxons, who had their best showing ever over their seven-year run at York with a third-place finish, weren't in a giving mood over the holidays. They led the tournament in points allowed, giving up only 40 points per game.
That stingy defense allowed Schaumburg to go 4-1 in the tournament, losing only to host York, which finished in second place to champion Bolingbrook, in the semifinals.
"Our kids really battled for five games over six days," Schaumburg coach Wade Heisler said. "We just had a real focus and there was this competitiveness that we showed. Defense was our staple. I thought going into the season that we could be a really good defensive team and we're really becoming that. We compete on the glass, we compete every possession, we stay engaged for long possessions, we take away drives and contest every shot and we really try to compete on the glass so that we limit teams to one shot per possession.
"And when we need to make adjustments, we do it and that has really benefited us."
Heisler says that 6-foot-7 center Chris Hodges is the linchpin of the defense, providing rebounding and a shot-blocking presence in the paint.
"His ability to challenge shots is a major key for our defense," Heisler said of Hodges. "Chris is a really good defender in the post but in the last year, he's really improved his defense on the perimeter and that gives us some (defensive) flexibility."
Jared Schoo and Arnav Karnik are also two of Schaumburg's top defenders. Heisler says Schoo leads the team in charges and Karnik is one of the team's best on-ball defenders.
Good shots: Besides tough defense, Schaumburg has been winning with careful shot selection.
The 14-3 Saxons rarely take a bad shot.
"We make sure we get good shots," Schaumburg coach Wade Heisler said. "We talk a lot about passing up good shots for great shots. We work a lot on helping teammates get open and get good shots."
Point guard Vaurice Patterson has tried to set the tone for patience within the Schaumburg offense.
Heisler says he likes the on-court maturity of Patterson, who is just a sophomore.
"He is doing a great job of running the point," Heisler said of Patterson. "His poise is incredible. You just forget he's a sophomore. But he's a big reason we are shooting the ball so well."