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Boys Basketball Insider: Evanston game a head-scratcher for Saints

St. Charles East’s James McQuillan and the Saints will look to bounce back from Saturday’s rocky second half at Evanston.
St. Charles East’s James McQuillan and the Saints will look to bounce back from Saturday’s rocky second half at Evanston.

Saturday night's loss at Evanston was one of the most perplexing games coach Pat Woods has seen with the Saints.

East played a lights-out first half, leading a quality Wildkits team, 38-22, at the break, before turning in a second-half clunker that Woods said was "the complete opposite" performance en route to a 72-64 loss.

What happened?

"I think I'm still trying to figure it out, and it's been almost 24 hours," Woods said on Sunday.

A Saints backcourt led by Dom Adduci and Cole Gentry is among the Upstate Eight Conference's finest, but Woods said taking care of the ball proved problematic as Evanston wrestled control of the game.

"Unfortunately, our guardplay hurt us [Saturday], and that's usually our strength," Woods said. "In the second half it hurt us, not being able to play with the lead and making good decisions with the ball."

The loss was East's second in a row as the Saints dropped to 8-7. East was scheduled to return to action tonight against Glenbard West but that game is one of many weather casualties today. It has been rescheduled for Wednesday.

Woods is eager to see how the Saints bounce back from the second-half meltdown in Evanston.

"We're either going to learn a lot from that and end up being really good or, if we continue down that path, we're going to struggle," Woods said. "I think we'll end up being really good because we have that type of talent, and as long as we get Dave (Mason) back, he's going to fill a gap we need."

Mason, a 6-foot-7 senior, has not played this season after undergoing foot surgery on Nov. 15. The Saints had hoped to have him back by now but the healing has taken longer than Woods originally anticipated. 

Once Mason returns, forwards such as AJ Washington and Mick Vyzral – who are not true, post players – will receive some welcome support in the paint. Woods said he's not sure when Mason will make his season debut.

"At this point we've been wrong every time, so I would project before the North game on [Jan. 18] … but we've been off on our projections before," Woods said. "We'll eventually get him back. Still a lot of season left."

Ryan David making mark for Kaneland

Kaneland sophomore forward Ryan David has worked his way into Kaneland's starting lineup, and has impressed his big brother in the process.

"I think he's been awesome," said Drew David, the Knights' senior point guard. "He's really deceptively long. He definitely does everything we lack in some spots. He definitely picks up the slack in all those areas. I think he's been a really big player for us."

Ryan David made a crucial 3-pointer in the third quarter of Saturday's United Center game against Geneva, beginning a Kaneland rally after Geneva built a 10-point lead late in the quarter. The Knights stormed back to take a fourth quarter lead before falling, 54-51.

Ryan David providing quality minutes became all the more crucial for Kaneland due to a pair of injuries that have kept forward Jake Gomes and guard Dylan Vaca out of action in recent weeks.

As for the novelty of playing alongside his 6-foot-3 younger brother, Drew David said that faded quickly.

"I don't really notice it," Drew David said. "We're just kind of playing out there. We've played a lot in the driveway and stuff, so it's not really that different."

No UC game for Ramblers

Mooseheart was originally scheduled to play Gage Park today at the United Center, but that will not happen because Gage Park did not sell its necessary allotment of tickets, according to Mooseheart coach Ron Ahrens.

The non-conference game was then shifted to Mooseheart but has been moved from today to Friday because of the weather.

– Jay Schwab,


Jake Esp, Marmion, Jr., F

What he did: Esp scored 25 points in Marmion's loss Friday at Niles Notre Dame, then added 22 more in Saturday's win at Buffalo Grove. Esp led the Cadets offensively in both games.

Ty Carlson, Kaneland, Sr., F

What he did: Carlson scored a game-high 21 points on Saturday at the United Center, including a game-tying 3-pointer with 15 seconds to play, as Kaneland fell to Geneva, 54-51.


Pro arenas aren't immune to technical glitches.

A delay occurred before the starting lineups were introduced at Saturday's Geneva-Kaneland United Center game. Eventually, the traditional Bulls' starting lineup music piped in.

"It's good to know it happens at the UC and Kaneland," Knights coach Brian Johnson quipped during the wait.


How swiftly wrestling mats can be scooped up.

St. Charles East's home game against Elgin on Friday marks the Saints' "Brawlers and Ballers" event in which the East varsity basketball game will be preceded by a varsity wrestling match rather than a sophomore basketball game.


Friday's Geneva-St. Charles North matchup is one of those games to circle if you're a local hoops fan.

Big, big ballgame for both teams, and it'll be interesting to see what kind of defense the Vikings throw at scorching-hot North guard Alec Goetz.

Glad this was not one of the games blown away this week by the winter storm.

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