Hodges reaches 1,000 as Schaumburg rolls by Conant
From Kent Payne in the 1970s to Mike Brown in the 1990s to Heze Trotter last season, several players in the 49-season history of varsity boys basketball at Schaumburg High School have scored 1,000 points in their careers.
Another Schaumburg hoopster joined that illustrious club for the second consecutive year in a win at archrival Conant Thursday night when 6-foot-8 junior Chris Hodges reached the milestone in a 64-44 Saxon triumph when he scored off an offensive rebound with 1:10 remaining in the third quarter.
The victory kept the visitors (18-3, 5-1) with a share of first place in the Mid-Suburban West as they host Fremd next Thursday. The Vikings handed Schaumburg its lone divisional loss at Fremd last month (49-40).
"It was great to get off to a good start," Schaumburg coach Wade Heisler said.
"I'm happy with the win and Chris getting his 1,000th point, but we have improvements we need to keep making."
Early on the Saxons grabbed control of the contest as they bolted out to a 7-0 lead over the first 3 minutes of play. After Conant got on the board on the first of junior forward Devon Ellis' 10 points, Schaumburg rolled off another 7 straight points giving it a 14-4 advantage after one.
That lead ballooned to as many as 23 (39-16) in the second and as large as 26 (64-38) in the game's final minute of play.
Heisler took notice of Ellis' evening. He finished with game-highs in both points (16) and rebounds (11). Fellow Cougar junior Sean Beckman added 10 points for the hosts, who fell to 3-15 overall and 1-5 in MSL West play.
"The Ellis kid is phenomenal," Heisler said. "It's one of those things where you gotta stay engaged if you're going to have a chance to stop him and I thought we kind of lost some of that (focus)."
Heisler then returned to his team's recent run of success with the win being its sixth straight and ninth in the last 10 games.
The fifth-year Saxon mentor points to where it lost two of three last month after winning its first eight games on the season where those fortunes began to turn around.
"When adversity happens it takes a lot of leadership among the guys, then it (also) takes our core values and the way we play and because we value that so much over and over that we have a lot of guys who we feel can step up to the challenge. I'm very proud of my boys for the way they do that. They're so unselfish and that allows you to overcome that adversity."
Senior guard Arnav Karnik (11 points) joined Hodges in double-figures for Schaumburg.
Hodges, a Wisconsin commit, uses a team mindset in his approach to scoring.
"Just don't be anxious. Don't worry about only scoring, focus on winning," Hodges said. "If they (the opposition) take me away, I'll have shooters on the wing. It's really (about) getting my team involved and doing what's best for the team."