St. Charles East rattles Wheaton North
St. Charles East's bench goes deep.
It must for the Saints to play the type of pressure defense responsible for Wednesday's 83-62 dismantling of visiting Wheaton North.
St. Charles East improved to 11-6 and maintained sole possession of second place in the DuKane Conference at 5-1 by sending 11 defenders at the Falcons in constant rotation.
If the Saints scored, they pressed. If they were in half-court defense, they pressured the ball to the point even the simple pass became dicey.
"I think it just wears teams down and makes them uncomfortable," St. Charles East coach Pat Woods said of his team's style. "That's what we're trying to do. I loved our kids' effort."
The pressure scheme worked against Wheaton North (10-8, 2-4), which dropped its third straight game. The Falcons limited their first-half turnovers to six, but made only 8 of 28 field-goal attempts and 3 of 17 attempts from 3-point range.
Meanwhile, St. Charles East shot the lights out. The Saints made 34 of 63 field-goal attempts (54%) and 10 of 20 from beyond the arc.
"We're trying to score as fast as we can and set up our press again," said St. Charles East senior Thomas Ditsworth, who led all scorers with 16 points. "It was a lot of work over the summer getting all the rotations right and getting conditioned. Now that we're here I wouldn't want to play any other way."
Wheaton North was within 9-7 in the first quarter when the Saints erupted from 3-point range. Ditsworth and fellow seniors Andrew Risberg, Scott Breidigan, Chase Monkemeyer and Luke Matheny each drained 3-pointers to fuel a 19-7 run. That spree staked East to a 28-14 lead that increased to 40-21 by halftime.
Wheaton North was unable to keep pace in the first half while shooting 3 of 17 from 3-point range.
"In a long season there are always lows," Wheaton North coach Dave Brackmann said. "My message to them was we got knocked down the last few days and our only option is to get back up. I told them I still believe in them."
Wheaton North senior Garrett Horner scored 11 of his team-high 13 points in the fourth quarter. Juniors Ben Bonga and Sam Cascella each scored 11 points and junior Connor Haake's 10 points included three 3-pointers.
Ten Saints scored, including Sean Sullivan (13 points), Matheny (11), Breidigan (9), Risberg (8) and Zack Clodi (8).