St. Francis knocks out rival Wheaton Academy
In sports vernacular a lot of punching occurred in Saturday's boys basketball game between Wheaton Academy and host St. Francis.
It mainly came out of St. Francis' corner. The Spartans won the Metro Suburban Conference crossover 65-38 at packed Spyglass Athletic Center in Wheaton.
"We knew that we needed to come out punching right from the start and that's what we did. They didn't respond, but we just kept going," said 6-foot-8 center Bryce Walker, who paced St. Francis with 18 points plus 9 rebounds.
Guard Sebastian Miller scored 14 points and 6-4 forward Robert Nocek added 12 for the Spartans. Add Walker and that's just the type of ball St. Francis (10-8) looks to play.
"Our game plan is always, right off the bat, look for the post," said Walker, a volleyball commit to Division I Purdue-Fort Wayne.
Spartans coach Erin Dwyer elaborated.
"We try to run our offense from the inside-out, make people respect the post," Dwyer said. "We've got (Walker) and Robert and some of the other guys. I think it's one of our strengths. It's a little bit old-school, but it's what we like."
So did the home fans, he noted: "It made a huge difference having everybody out here. Our Blue Crew was amazing."
Wheaton Academy (10-6) struck first on Tobi Sonuga's quick 3, but St. Francis countered on a 13-1 run led by Walker in the paint.
Brendan Yarusso's 3 from up top cinched an 18-6 Spartans lead after one quarter.
Like Walker said, they just kept going, scoring the first 6 points of the second quarter while Wheaton Academy committed 3 turnovers and missed three 3-pointers.
"We just let (Walker) keep punching us in the face, essentially," said Warriors senior forward Max Scharnowski, who scored a team-high 11 points. Marcus Bult added 9 points, 10 rebounds.
"We never bounced back," Scharnowski said. "We let them, the whole game, do what they wanted. They got all the 50-50 balls, they shot better than us. We allowed them to affect us mentally and you simply can't win when that happens."
A couple times, as when Bryce Swift and Bult scored back-to-back late in the second quarter to get within 34-19 at halftime, the Warriors seemed ready to punch back.
But 4-of-28 3-point shooting and 6 of 18 on free throws did not allow a rally. Christian Pares' 3 to start the third quarter was the only time St. Francis held less than a 15-point second-half lead.
"They're pretty disciplined, they were playing well tonight, so it's hard to get back in the game when you're not shooting well," said Wheaton Academy coach Steve Thonn.