Glenbard East's Rogers steps up vs. Fenton
Glenbard East junior forward LaDonis Rogers picked a good time to have a big-time effort.
With high-scoring senior guard DaRon Hall bottled up for most of the game, Rogers stepped up to score 12 points to lead the Rams to a gritty 54-48 victory over Fenton in Upstate Eight Conference boys basketball play on Thursday.
The Rams (12-6, 8-2) needed a big effort from Rogers to stay on the heels of first-place Glenbard South in the conference standings. Deon Cook paced the Rams' collective effort with 13 points, Jack Rivas finished with 10 points and two 3-pointers, Joe Hamilton made three 3-pointers for 9 points and Hall added 8 points -- all on free throws.
The Bison (12-9, 6-5) made a point at attempting to keep the ball out of Hall's hands, employing a triangle-and-two defense and taking advantage of the officials allowing rough play on the perimeter.
"They threw the whole kitchen sink at DaRon, and he was obviously frustrated," Glenbard East coach Scott Miller said. "It was an opportunity for a couple of other guys to step up, like Joe Hamilton. LaDonis Rogers also probably played the best game of his life.
"I think LaDonis got into foul trouble the last couple of games and didn't get an opportunity to play much, but tonight he really stepped up and made his layups and tough shots. He did a good job rebounding, went up and snapped a couple. We needed him. They had two bigs, so we had to match with the two bigs."
Rogers was a consistent force on the offensive end, scoring four points in each of the first two quarters and adding a field goal in each of final two quarters.
His basket at the third-quarter buzzer gave the Rams a 42-42 lead. The 6-foot-3 Rogers extended the Rams' lead to 51-46 with a basket at the 1:44 mark of the fourth quarter.
"We talked about it all the time in practice that teams will pressure DaRon, so we need other guys to step up and today I stepped up," Rogers said. "I've been working on my post moves in practice."
Fenton senior forward Diamon Evans dominated in the paint, leading all scorers with 22 points. Evans repeatedly kept the Bison in the game by crashing the boards for putbacks or taking the ball to the basket. Andre Reed chipped in with 2 second-quarter 3-pointers for 10 points.
The Bison missed two 3s and committed two crucial turnovers in the final minute to spoil a chance for an upset home win.
"Diamon had a very good game, but we just can't turn the ball over," Fenton coach Chaz Taft said. "We had our chances to take the lead at the end, but just turned it over."
The Rams can now concentrate on hosting Saturday's highly anticipated "When Sides Collide" shootout, which opens with Glenbard East taking on Aurora Christian at 2:30 p.m. Bloom takes on Evanston at 4 p.m. followed by Rolling Meadows against Fenwick at 5:30 p.m. Simeon battles Notre Dame in the nightcap at 7 p.m.
"Saturday is going to be a great day of basketball, starting with our game against Aurora Christian," Miller said. "They have Taaj Davis, who scored over 100 points last week. It will be fun, nice for us since we play the first game and can sit back and watch the last three games. It's going to be a fun weekend."