Metea Valley has enough to beat Conant
The recent surge in COVID-19 cases has been taking a toll on area basketball teams in the form of numerous contests either being postponed and rescheduled or being canceled.
Take the case of Conant's boys basketball squad. It had a Tuesday Mid-Suburban League crossover at Wheeling and an MSL West home game versus Fremd Friday that both fell into the former category with makeup dates rescheduled respectively over the next two Saturdays.
The Cougars sought to scrape the rust off having not played since December 30 at the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic with a home game Saturday evening against a Metea Valley unit that looked to bounce back after a road loss at Naperville North Friday in DuPage Valley Conference action.
Thanks in part to its ability to withstand an early surge by the host Cougars, visiting Metea put together a couple runs of its own to emerge from Perry Gym victorious 51-46 to move its mark on the season to 6-9 overall.
"We talked to the kids about last night being a tough night for us," Metea coach Isaiah Davis said. "We had a walk-through this morning and just told the kids, 'listen, how do we respond to adversity? We're going to go on the road against a tough team. How do we respond?' You saw the kids, they battled all night, they played well together and executed at the end. So I was really proud of their effort tonight."
Leading the effort for Metea was 6-foot-5 forward Chandrahaas Duggirala. The senior led all scorers with 18 points and added 5 rebounds as his work in the paint, most notably in the second quarter, helped snare a 28-26 halftime advantage as he scored the Mustangs' last 6 points of the half as part of a 9-3 tear over the final 2:29.
"When 'Haas gets it going down on the post, it really helps us offensively because we do have guards who can penetrate, get to the basket and knock down some shots," Davis said.
"My team moved the ball very well, they found me a lot in the post," Duggirala said. "I got open looks. I was able to post up because I had my team spread out for me a lot of plays and I got a lot of buckets."
After a Duggirala bucket gave the Mustangs the lead for good at 38-36 with 5:15 remaining, it set up the decisive run (10-3) that left them ahead 46-39 when Duggirala drove in the lane for points 17 and 18 with 1:52 left.
Junior Quentin Schaeffer (11 points) would close it out for the visitors with 5 of 7 at the charity stripe over the game's final minute.
Sophomore Center Camden Lathos' 15-point, 9-rebound performance led the Cougars (9-6). Senior forward Issac Hanley added 10 points.