HILLSIDE – Business suits were the only thing the St. Charles East boys basketball team lacked during a 77-26 rout of Gage Park at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament on Friday morning.
The 8:30 a.m. weekday tipoff, an overmatched opponent and the results made the trip to Hillside a glorified business trip, as nearly the entire Saints squad pitched in to help East advance in the workman-like effort.
Starters Dom Adduci and Cole Gentry each played about a quarter and a half for the Saints but still managed 16 points apiece. Saints coach Pat Woods gave his bench plenty of minutes as 10 of East’s 12 players scored.
“We talked more about working on things and getting better so we tried to emphasize rebounding and feeding the post,” Woods said. “[The Saints’ bench players] work a lot in practice, so it’s good to get them an opportunity. They were missing their two best players, so that might have made a difference.”
With a 27-2 lead after the first quarter, Woods sat his starters the entire second quarter. The Saints’ bench responded with 6-foot-8 big man Jack Bronec and 3-point ace Jake Asquini leading the way. Bronec made life difficult inside for an under-sized Gage Park team while Asquini hit a pair of 3s at the end of the first half to help East lead 45-12 at the break.
Adduci, Gentry and A.J. Washington scored the first 15 points of the third quarter to push East’s lead to 60-12 before Woods called off the dogs. Bronec scored six of his 11 points in fourth quarter to aid in the rout.
Bronec’s development could loom large for East down the line. While injured 6-foot-7 big man David Mason is expected to return soon, Bronec’s size could become a factor for the Saints.
Depth is always important, too, and East showed it had it Friday as Jake Clodi knocked down a pair of 3-pointers while Jeremy Champine added one. If East is ever in a pinch and needs to lean on a bench player, Friday’s game could be big for players’ confidence, like Clodi.
“It means a lot for my confidence. No matter the team you have to come out and play hard,” Clodi said. “This boosted my confidence to know that I can knock it down when my name gets called. It helps our team come together to know that you can trust your guys who are coming in.”
Washington led East with nine rebounds and also helped hold the Owls to 22 percent shooting from the floor.
East will take on Urban Prep West – which beat Wheaton Academy on Friday – at 9 a.m. today. The winner reaches the consolation final on Monday.