ST. CHARLES – It was apparent from the start of Saturday night’s contest between the St. Charles East and Streamwood boys basketball teams that the Saints had plenty of energy left after the previous night’s winning battle with Geneva.
East charged to a 13-0 lead early in the first quarter en route to an 84-52 Upstate Eight Conference River Division win over the Sabres.
The victory put the Saints at the .500 mark both overall (4-4) and in the conference (2-2).
“We talked about the possibility of a letdown (after Friday night’s game) and we didn’t want that to happen,” East coach Pat Woods said. “I thought the way we came out, which is what we emphasized before the game, set the tone. Overall, it was a great team effort.”
Zach Manibog opened East’s scoring with a 3-point shot from the right corner. The junior guard (nine points) canned two more treys in the frame as the Saints built a commanding 22-8 lead at the end of the first eight minutes.
East increased its lead over Streamwood (1-6, 0-3 UEC River) to 47-27 at the half.
Senior forward AJ Washington energized both his team and the crowd with three straight dunks early in the third quarter. Washington finished the night with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Reserve forward Jack Bronec got the Saints’ bench on their feet at the start of the fourth quarter with a dunk after a steal.
“Streamwood telegraphed a pass and I slipped through and got it,” said the 6-foot-8 inch Bronec about the play that set up his first dunk of the season.
Leading 67-46 at the end of the third quarter, Woods was able to rest his starters in the fourth quarter. Thirteen different Saints scored in the game.
Junior forward Mick Vyzral came off the bench to score a team-high 13 points.
“I think we were fine. We were pretty pumped up,” Vyzral said. “We got a great team win.”
Although East held a 28-21 rebounding edge and stole the ball five times, Woods thought there was room for improvement on defense.
“We played well offensively but we have some work to do defensively,” Woods said. “I thought they got some easy baskets, which we need to work on. I think our rebounding was better but our rotations were very slow tonight, especially inside.”
Cole Seger and Antonio Harris provided most of the firepower for the Sabres. Seger scored a game-high 16 points while Harris chipped in 14.
“What we are working on with these kids is to stay positive and improve on their fundamental skills," first-year Sabres coach Paul Kowalszyn said about his struggling team. “I see flashes of potential here and there.”
Sophomore James McQuillan tallied nine points for the Saints.