St. Francis shares the ball, downs Aurora Christian
Good things will happen when you play unselfish basketball.
Leading 28-23 at halftime, St. Francis (17-6, 8-1) went on a 10-2 run in the first 3 minutes of the third quarter to extend its lead to 40-25 and pulled away from there during its 64-46 Metro Suburban Conference victory over Aurora Christian (14-6, 5-4) Thursday night at the Spyglass Athletic Center in Wheaton.
Senior guard Jack Brennan tallied 7 of his team-leading 14 points during the Spartans' 24-7 surge over the first 5 ½ minutes of the second half as they opened a commanding 52-30 advantage.
"A lot of things went well for us," said Brennan, who hit 6 of his 8 field-goal attempts, including a pair of 3-pointers, while adding 4 assists and 3 steals.
"One thing that we really picked up on was our defense. One thing we stress is that we'll win the defensive side, and the offense will just come with it. We won the defensive side and we started running. The pieces fell into place."
Senior forward Sean Killian (8 points, 3 rebounds) began the second half with back-to-back inside buckets, and senior guard Sebastian Miller (6 points, 3 assists) drained a 3-pointer during the Spartans' 7-0 run in the first 2 ½ minutes to make it 35-23.
"We made extra-effort plays," said Spartans coach Erin Dwyer. "We got some hands on some passes -- that helped a lot. We started doubling No. 11 (Aurora Christian's Drew Meyers) a little more in the second half to try and change the tempo of the game."
Playing without injured senior guard Danny New, the Eagles scored the final 7 points of the third quarter to make it 52-37.
But the damage was done.
"We got lost defensively," said Eagles coach Dan Beebe. "Typically, we're pretty solid defensively. We got lost -- they got some easy shots and got going a little bit.
"We really dug ourselves a hole. We tried to drag ourselves back out of it, but it was just too much. That's (St. Francis) a good ballclub."
Brendan Yarusso added 13 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists as the Spartans won its sixth straight game.
TJ McMillen (8 points, 3 rebounds), Colin Kiesler and Adam Wiborg accounted for the Spartans' 18-10 edge off the bench.
"We've been getting consistent production off our bench," said Dwyer. "We don't get weaker when we sub -- we stay pretty strong."
Meyers paced the Eagles with 14 points, including three 3-pointers, while Calvin Washington added 9 points.
"We've got to get healthy," said Beebe. "We have a two-time all-stater (New) sitting on the bench with an ankle (injury) -- that certainly doesn't help. We'll be fine. It's one game. We'll bounce back."
The two teams will meet again Monday night in Aurora.
"We're on the NBA schedule right now," said Dwyer.