Conant falls to St. Pat's
It's just not the type of year that Conant boys basketball coach Jim Maley was expecting.
Maley knew it would be a rebuilding year but injuries certainly have taken their toll on the Cougars.
Conant hosted powerful St. Patrick Saturday night in a nonconference game. St. Pat's came in with a four game win streak and a 16-5 record. The Shamrocks sit in a second-place tie with Marian Catholic in the rugged East Suburban Catholic.
St. Pat's '31' defense and the ability to score from any part on the floor gave the Shamrocks a 63-42 win. Conant saw its record drop to 3-17. The Cougars have lost six straight.
"With injuries we have had to starters it's been a tough year," said Maley. "At some point this wears not only on the players but on the coaches as well. We see the effort in the practices. The night before against Barrington we played tough and competed. "
The Shamrocks broke out to a 13-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and built a 33-14 halftime lead.
Senior guard Dominic Galati, who would lead St. Patrick with 15 points, scored 11 in the first half. Michael Hamilton scored all 9 of his points in the first half. Caleb Corro scored his 14 points in the second half.
Joe Fanning, who only played in his second game this season due to an ankle injury, scored 6 points but his passing and inside play opened up other players for St. Patrick.
"When Joe comes in a game," said Galati, "it's a whole different mindset. He's a real good passer and he helps find open people."
Conant was unable to get anything going in the first half as the Shamrocks concentrated on stopping Devon Ellis. Ellis was held scoreless in the first half but finished with a team-high 9 points.
"Our defense has been the backbone of our season," said St. Patrick coach Mike Bailey. "We were certainly concerned with Ellis. We had to find ways to slow him down. He's a tremendous player. He's right there with (Chris) Hodges (Schaumburg) and (Max) Christie (Rolling Meadows). He's in their ballpark."
"We thought we could stop Ellis by taking away the baseline and stop him from cutting through the lane," said Galati. "We knew we would have to rebound in this game."
The Shamrocks did win the rebound battle 24-18.
The Cougars played well in the third quarter as Ellis became more involved in the offense. He scored 8 points in the quarter and Sean Beckman, who would score 8 points, tallied 6. Brandon Schoyer would also add 8 points in the game for the Cougars.
"We competed better in the second half," said Maley.
"We have a lot of things going against us right now," said Ellis. "We need to keep coming out pushing and trying. It's hard on us to come out, try our best, and lose. In practice we give a good effort. If one thing goes wrong in the game it has a snowball effect. It's something we have to work on. We need to try to nip it in the bud."