ST. CHARLES – St. Charles East boys basketball players retreated to the weight room shortly after blitzing Batavia Saturday night.
Montell Jordan's "This Is How We Do It" blared from the stereo, and why not?
A diverse attack eased any heavy lifting throughout the Saints' 72-49 Upstate Eight Conference River Division win, boosting East's confidence with seemingly every shot.
"We had a lot of penetration in their 'D,' and we just found a lot of open shots and kick-outs and we made our shots," Saints junior guard Zach Manibog said.
East (5-4, 3-2 UEC River) led by as many as 28 points after halftime and finished 23 of 51 (45 percent) from the field.
The defense created 25 turnovers, as a deep core of small, quick guards persistently harrassed Batavia (2-7, 0-4), which suffered its sixth straight loss.
That combination added up to several flashy fast breaks before long. One in the middle of the third quarter particularly stood out: Dom Adduci's behind-the-back feed to Cole Gentry, who drilled an open 3-pointer.
"It was just kind of an instinctual thing. I looked at Cole, he kind of looked at me, and I was like, 'All right, might as well throw a behind-the-back pass,' because I didn't really want to give away that I was passing to him," Adduci said.
Adduci scored a game-high 24 points to lead four Saints in double figures. Gentry added 12, while James McQuillan and reserve Jake Asquini tallied 10 apiece.
Batavia, which struggled to keep pace in a 70-49 loss at St. Charles North Friday, received its top production from reserve guard Tyler Lovestrand (13 points). Micah Coffey followed with 11.
"The only thing we can look at is we get a chance to practice, get a little better and move into Christmas," Batavia coach Jim Nazos said.
The Bulldogs open holiday tournament play at Elgin on Monday, a few hours after East tips off at Proviso West.
Alternating success from distance and on drives to the basket, East led by as many as 16 in the first quarter.
Asquini helped inflate the advantage with a pair of quick 3-pointers in the second quarter, but Lovestrand eventually equaled him. Lovestrand went a perfect 3 for 3 from the field before halftime, including a pair of treys. A Danny Pieczynski 3 with 36 seconds left in the half brought the Bulldogs within nine, but that's when East displayed another wrinkle to its offense.
AJ Washington's long jumper from just inside the arc was good from the right baseline, giving East a 33-22 halftime cushion.
Washington sent the crowd into a deeper frenzy just over a minute into the third quarter, unleashing a dunk that temporarily delayed the game because it bent the rim.
"The funny thing was, I had to shoot free throws right after that dunk, when he bent it down. When they were fixing it, I was like, 'Oh, Jeez. What the heck?' " Adduci said. "But, you know, that happens sometimes in practice, especially with AJ being the dunker that he is. So, I mean, we're used to it, but that was a monster dunk that got our team going, and that was exactly what we needed."
Batavia could have done without the play, as it worked to come untracked.
"We have to take care of the ball better, we have to rebound better, and those are team things that we can do," Nazos said. "It's not one individual, it's all of us."
Both coaches emptied their benches. Although the Saints' student section chanted for him, coach Pat Woods did not oblige by summoning senior forward David Mason, a starter who still is mending from a broken foot.
"We were hoping to have him back tonight, but it's just not ready yet. But he'll be back soon. Just needs a little more time," Woods said. "We plan to start the new year with him."