Red-hot Gonzalez shoots Fenton past Waukegan

By Bobby Narang
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/22/2021 10:25 PM

Fenton guard Xavior Gonzalez had a free throw wiped out due to a lane violation late in the third quarter of Monday's season opener against Waukegan.

A few seconds later, Gonzalez missed a long 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer.


That's about all that went wrong with Gonzalez's performance -- and for that part, Fenton's -- against Waukegan.

Gonzalez canned four 3-pointers for a career-high 28 points to lead Fenton to a 70-49 win over the Bulldogs in the second game of the Chuck Mitchell Fenton tournament in Bensenville.

Gonzalez opened up the game on fire, hitting two 3s to score 11 points in the first quarter to power the Bison (1-0) to a memorable season opening win. Gonzalez, a sophomore guard, made a splash in his first game this season, drilling long shots and driving to the basket. Nick Tinajero added 10 points and Caleb Lewis buried three 3s for 9 points for the Bison.

"In the spring, I was the backup point guard, so this was a great start," Gonzalez said. "I was just getting to my spots. Michael Rago was a big reason I got those open 3-pointers. It's nice to shoot this way and get a win. We put a lot of pressure on the ball and that helped us in transition after getting a lot of steals to get good shots. That ball pressure really helped us."

In total, the Bison hit 10 3-pointers to take advantage of some open looks against the Bulldogs (0-1) transition defense.

Gonzalez capped his strong season debut with a late flourish. He scored on a power drive to the basket and added a free throw to increase the lead to 59-41. Gonzalez drilled a 3-pointer from the corner with 4:44 left, then added a steal and assist to push the advantage to 66-43.

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The Bulldogs were unable to establish any flow on offense for most of the game, mainly due to Fenton's aggressive half-court trapping defense which forced 31 turnovers. The Bison forced nine turnovers on Waukegan's first 11 possessions.

Fenton senior guard Michael Rago finished with 5 points, but his strong defense and passing helped the Bison cruise to a blowout victory.

"I played the chaser, which is our top position," Rago said. "I pride myself on defense, tried to put some pressure on them. It was a great team win. We all played well, and everyone stepped in and played their role."

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