York turns to its defense to defeat St. Francis

 
 
Updated 1/18/2020 9:11 PM

Imagine if they'd hit their free throws.

York's boys basketball team overcame a rough night at the line to beat St. Francis 50-39 in second-round action from Saturday's Wheaton Warrenville South MLK Tournament.

 

While missing nearly half their 31 free-throw attempts, the Dukes (18-2) leaned heavily on their defense to pull away in the second half. The Spartans built a 23-15 second-quarter lead behind 11-of-16 first-half shooting, but then York limited them to 5 points over the next 13 minutes.

By the time York's 13-3 third-quarter run ended, the Dukes led 37-28.

"We really stepped up on defense, that was a team effort right there," said York sophomore Nick Hesch, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the third quarter. "Stepping up and stopping them like we did, that was big for us. We're going to win with our defense."

Sophomore Brendan Yarusso scored 10 of his 13 points in an impressive first quarter for the Spartans (12-9), who beat Rockford East 53-51 in the first round behind Robert Nocek's 30 points.

After the tremendous shooting of the first half, though, St. Francis managed only a Sebastian Miller 3-pointer in the third quarter.

"You can't beat really good teams without doing all the little things consistently," said Spartans coach Erin Dwyer. "That's the difference for us trying to get to the next level. But I'm very proud of how we played. Every game we're playing, we're showing improvement."

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York advances to the semifinals at 11 a.m. Monday to face WW South, which beat Joliet Central and Lake Forest Academy on Saturday. In their second win, a 52-44 victory over the Caxys, the Tigers (12-7) were paced by Parker Brown's 18 points, Tyler Fawcett's 12 points and Yonatan Algawerash's 10 points.

York's Nate Shockey led all scorers with 19 points against St. Francis.

"They did a great job attacking us early and we did a better job against that later in the game," said Dukes coach Vince Doran, whose team beat Schaumburg Christian 54-30 in the opening round. "It was something different that we hadn't seen, and we'll have to learn from it."

Twitter: @kevin_schmit

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