Timothy Christian wins against Wheaton Academy
This one didn't require a 3 at the end to decide it, but Timothy Christian's offensive execution was just as enthralling.
Shooting 24 of 46 for the game with assists on 15 baskets, the host Trojans drew closer to the Metro Suburban Red boys basketball title on Tuesday night with a 60-43 win over defending conference champion Wheaton Academy in Elmhurst.
"It's like a weight lifted off your shoulder, for sure. This is a game that we had circled on the calendar, for sure," said Trojans point guard Matt Owens, who scored 17 points with 6 assists.
"It's just us being so versatile. Anybody can have a night," Owens said. "I think whenever our team spreads the floor everybody scores, things like that. It just opens up the floor for me being the point guard to see everybody."
Teammates A.J. Vos and Josh Harris also had nice nights, scoring 16 and 15 points, respectively. Ben VanderWal scored 9 points and took three offensive charges. Trojans coach Scott Plaisier said the Trojans had 12 possessions of five or more passes "and a lot of them were layups."
Still, the game was closer than the final score. The Trojans -- who beat Wheaton Academy 43-40 on Dec. 14 on VanderWal's 3 at the buzzer -- cinched it with a late 12-0 run. At halftime Timothy Christian (20-5, 9-0) led 25-23 after eight lead changes and five tie scores.
"I think we attacked the rim pretty well, got a decent amount of layups, like finishing at the rim," said Wheaton Academy's Marcus Bult, who scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half. "They didn't help a whole lot (defensively), so I was open. But they hit shots, they moved the ball well so props to them. They earned it, they outplayed us."
Wheaton Academy (17-10, 8-2) held within 44-36 after three quarters and was within 46-41 with 4:52 remaining on a free throw by Max Scharnowski, who scored 12 points. Jack Oswald was strong off the bench for the Warriors with 8 points on 4-of-4 shooting.
Timothy Christian answered the challenge with a Ben Jones steal leading to an Owens pullup jumper. Vos stole the ball again and Owens dished to Harris for a lay-in.
Warriors coach Steve Thonn took a timeout, but the pattern continued with VanderWal converting on the baseline from an Owens assist.
A Vos third-chance putback, a Harris basket inside, Vos in transition and Timothy had leapt to a 58-41 lead with 1:02 left.
"It was one of those games where we had to be strong down the stretch and finish and make plays," Thonn said. "They kind of got it done. They played well the last three, three and a half minutes and we struggled a little bit the last three and a half minutes."
Plaisier had three goals at the start of the season: 20 wins, a conference title and a regional title.
"The whole 20-win thing is less impressive nowadays than it was six, seven years ago when you couldn't play as many games," he said. "But for them to get their 20th win out of 25 attempts, that's still getting it done."