Spencer, Rogers lead Glenbard East to victory
While slightly embarrassed by a pair of missed dunks in the first quarter, Glenbard East seniors Terence Spencer and LaDonus Rogers were all smiles after delivering the knockout punch against West Chicago in the third quarter of Saturday's Upstate Eight Conference game.
The Rams ran past the Wildcats in that decisive quarter with Spencer rocking the tiny crowd with a one-handed jam and Rogers pouring in 15 of his 22 points in the third quarter as Glenbard East broke open what was a tight game at halftime, winning 68-42.
"We figured no one could stop (Rogers)," Spencer said. "He's too big and West Chicago is a smaller team. We fed it to the big man and he went to work."
Indeed he did. And while disappointed that he wasn't able to hammer one home, the consolation prize was repeated success inside via feeds from Joe Hamilton and the rest of his teammates or by throwing around his 6-5, 210-pound frame and taking it to the hoop on his own.
"The next one I'm throwing down for sure," Rogers laughed. "I've got to throw one down before the end of the season."
Glenbard East (3-7, 3-3) forced 16 turnovers, outscoring the Wildcats 38-14 after just leading 30-28 early in the third quarter.
"At halftime we talked about putting pressure on them and everything, getting turnovers and just running down the court," Rogers said. "That's how I finish. It's good execution."
West Chicago proved pesky with the 5-foot Jordan Garcia (9 points) knocking down a couple of three-pointers and junior James Kostomiris (21 points) connecting from long-range five times. But after knocking down seven 3-pointers in the first half, the Wildcats only made two more.
Glenbard East senior Jack Rivas said the Rams regrouped defensively in the second half and that proved to make a huge difference.
"They were hitting a lot of shots in the first half so we kind of new we had to stick to our course," he said. "We were gambling a lot on defense. We became poised and we got more steals, and we're good in transition. When we run there's a lot of buckets in our transition game."
There could have been a couple more of those buckets if those other dunk attempts went down. While Spencer alluded to playing defense as taxing the legs and making to difficult to throw it down, Rogers acknowledged that the open space surprised him.
"I don't know how I missed (the first one)," Spencer said. "I took my steps from the 3-point line, I should have took it closer. You're so focused on not missing it that once you get up there it gets hard to make it when you're mind is somewhere else and you're like 'I can't miss, I can't miss.'"
Said Rogers: "It's the first time I had that much open space. Usually in practice we're throwing it down. That one I just missed."
Rivas chipped in with 7 points while Nick Janega and Spencer had 6 apiece for the Rams. Rydel Salazar hit a couple 3-pointers for the Wildcats to finish with 6 points.
The Rams had 11 players score.
"When we run our stuff and execute, it's good," Rivas said. "One (through) 15, all guys were involved and it was a good team win. When we all trust each other to get the job done and we share it, good things happen."