Hinsdale Central knocks off Silver-leading York
Hinsdale Central senior Ryan Isaacson made a late but impactful arrival in Friday's game.
Isaacson scored 17 of his 18 points in the second half to spark the Red Devils to a 42-35 victory over York in West Suburban Silver action.
The Red Devils (10-8, 4-2) took advantage of York missing starting guard Jeff Grace, and star point guard Nate Shockey being saddled with foul trouble for most of the game to knock off the first-place Dukes (21-3, 6-1) in a defensive battle.
The 6-foot-7 Isaacson, the tallest player on the court, played big in a big game to keep the Red Devils' conference title hopes alive. Charlie Sessa added eight points in the win.
"The halftime speech got me going," Isaacson said. "I just looked to be more aggressive in the second half. I felt I was little too stagnant. We were playing to their zone in the first half. We really started to pick it up after that.
"My teammates gave me motivation to keep playing, to keep playing at a high level like we were in the fourth quarter. We went possession by possession."
Isaacson, a Merrimack College recruit, snapped out of his offensive funk midway through the third quarter. Both teams were locked in a defensive battle, combining for 15 points in the first 12 minutes in front of a large crowd.
Isaacson scored two baskets in a span of less than two minutes to extend Hinsdale Central's lead to 25-16. He canned two 3-pointers early in the fourth to ward off a late push by the Dukes.
"Their defense is just tough, something you don't normally see," Hinsdale Central coach Nick LaTorre said. "You have to react and respond. I thought our guys did a good job of finding him. When we got ahead, it loosened their defense… (Ryan) is the main focus of teams we play, in terms of what they try to take away first. We stayed the course, our guys looked for him and screened for him. Fortunately, he got some clean looks in the second half and converted."
Isaacson said he patterned his stretch-four game by watching former NBA legend Dirk Nowitzki at a young age. Isaacson said he started shooting 3-pointers when he was in seventh grade.
"I knew I was a stretch-four back then, and tried to play to my strengths, so I can take guys off the dribble or go inside when I have a mismatch," he said. "(Dirk Nowitzki) is the one who changed the league for big men and space the floor (which) really opened up my eyes to how much I can do on the floor."
Shockey, who topped the 1,000-point mark last week, tried to will the short-handed Dukes back late in the fourth quarter. He finished with 19 points and two 3-pointers before fouling out in the final minutes. The Red Devils' defense, in the end, made the Dukes work for every shot.
"We have been focusing on the last two weeks is on the defensive end," Isaacson said. "That's how we beat that team. We got stops in our defense. That really contributed to the win."