Bartlett downs East Aurora behind Luczynski's triple double

 
 
Updated 1/14/2022 10:55 PM

When it comes to devising a strategic defensive game plan against Bartlett's 7-foot-3 senior center Conrad Luczynski, opposing teams will try about anything.

Whether it be a physical man-to-man approach or more double and triple teaming, East Aurora (10-5, 5-2) couldn't figure out the right combination Friday night.

 

Luczynski recorded a triple double with a game-high 25 points, 16 rebounds and 10 blocked shots during the Hawks' 69-55 Upstate Eight Conference victory in Bartlett.

"The big fella is the big fella," said Tomcats coach Rick Robinson. "Our game plan was to cut everybody else and let him (Luczynski) get his. It worked for the most part but then we had some guys not following the plan like they should have, and consequently, they had a couple guys hit some open jumpers."

Luczynski, who had 8 points in the first 3 ½ minutes as the Hawks (13-3, 7-1) jumped out to a 14-2 lead, scored 19 first-half points to help propel Bartlett to a 41-25 halftime advantage.

"Early on, they (Tomcats) were going to let (Jabian) Acosta bang with him (Luczynski) down low and keep him from getting some easy buckets," said Hawks coach Jim Wolfsmith. "But we got some easy scores and we hit a couple shots on top of that.

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"When we play like that offensively and defensively, we're a hard team to play against."

When the Tomcats began double-teaming Luczynski, the Hawks' big man found some open shooters, particularly sophomore guard Kelton McEwen (19 points) and senior forward Ian Smith (15 points, 10 rebounds).

McEwen, who added 4 assists, connected on three 3-pointers while shooting 6 for 11 from the field, while Smith hit 6 of his 8 field-goal attempts, including three 3-pointers -- forming the perfect complement with Luczynski.

"We like to get it to him (Luczynski) down low, especially in the beginning of games, to see how they're going to play us," said McEwen. "When they double team him -- he's a really good person -- he finds the open teammates.

"We've got to keep hitting our open outside shots."

Bartlett, which led 52-33 after 3 quarters, opened a 23-point bulge at 56-33 following a McEwen basket with 6:30 remaining.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

East Aurora, however, made things interesting.

Relying on relentless full-court defensive pressure, the Tomcats went on a 14-0 run to pull within 56-47 with 2:49 remaining.

Jullian Acosta (21 points, 9 rebounds) led the surge with 5 points.

"You knew in that second half they were going to come out loaded for bear," Wolfsmith said of the Tomcats. "They created a whole bunch of turnovers. They were flying around. We've got to learn to play through that.

"We were able to hold on instead of a put-away. They just upped the pressure in the second half. It's something to grow on going into our big showdown with Larkin on Tuesday."

Calvin Savage added 11 points for East Aurora.

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