Timothy Christian rallies past St. Edward
Midway through the third quarter, Timothy Christian's basketball team found itself at a crossroad Tuesday night, trailing St. Edward, 33-15.
"At that point, you've got one of two ways to go," said Trojans coach Scott Plaisier. "You're either going to fight for your life and see if you can get yourself back in the basketball game or you're going to lay down and let them take the win."
The Trojans (12-3, 5-0) picked themselves off the ground, scoring the final 12 points of the third quarter to claw within 33-27 before moving into overdrive in the fourth quarter during their 52-42 come-from-behind Metro Suburban Red victory over the Green Wave (7-12, 1-4) in Elgin.
"I give the boys a lot of credit -- they took the other side of it," said Plaisier, whose team outscored the Green Wave 25-9 in the fourth quarter.
Leading 25-15 at halftime, St. Edward opened the second half on an 8-0 run, capped by Erik Hill's 3-pointer, to extend its lead to 18 points with 4:06 left in the third quarter.
"Our back was against the wall," said Plaisier.
Senior guard Matt Owens (16 points, 5 assists, 3 steals) snapped the dry spell as he hit a runner in the paint before Ben VanderWal connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the key -- the Trojans' first long-range shot of the game after misfiring on their first 10 attempts.
After Owens' off-balance jumper made it 33-22, VanderWal (12 points, 6 rebounds) drained another 3-pointer and A.J. Vos hit a pair of free throws with 4 seconds remaining as the Trojans cut the deficit to 33-27 entering the final period.
"Any time you get within 10 (after three quarters), I feel like you're in a position to win the game," said Owens. "That definitely gave us a boost."
"We only took five 3s the whole second half," said Plaisier. "Vandy (VanderWal) did make those two which was huge -- just giving us a little bit of life."
In addition to knocking down some shots, the Trojans picked up their defensive pressure over the final 12 minutes.
St. Edward, which dictated the tempo throughout the first half with only 4 turnovers, committed 15 turnovers in the second half as the Trojans successfully picked up the pace.
"The only way we could get back into it was to extend our pressure all the way out," said Plaisier.
The Trojans also switched 6-foot-4 junior Josh Harris (14 points) to primarily guard Hill, who led all players with 18 points, including four 3-pointers.
"That helped a little," said Plaisier. "Josh has some length and he's quick enough to slide with him. Hill's a great player. We tried to force him into as tough of shots as we could."
Sebastian Oquendo added 8 points for the Green Wave.
"In the second half, we kind of stopped running our stuff," said Hill. "The intensity was there but we broke down on defense a lot. We weren't talking as much.
"We'll bounce back. It was a new starting five today and it was working well. This proves that we can play with all these teams in our conference."