ST. CHARLES – One of the most exciting elements of the IHSA boys basketball state tournaments is the unpredictably of the results.
When the Class 4A St. Charles North Class 4A regional opened Monday, not many area fans would have thought that third-seeded St. Charles East and fourth-ranked South Elgin would square off Friday night for the regional title.
South Elgin continued its inprobable run in the tournament, coming from behind in the fourth quarter to beat the Saints, 76-62, for the championship and a berth in next week’s Elgin Sectional.
Except for a short span in the first quarter, East was out in front until a minute and a half into the fourth quarter. But mistakes down the stretch were costly.
“If you look at turnovers, rebounds and missed shots – that’s the game right there,” Saints coach Pat Wood said. “We didn’t shoot the ball very well. I don’t know the details, but it wasn’t pretty.”
East (18-12) led by four at the end of the first quarter, 17-13, and at the half, 35-31. The Saints’ lead at the break was helped by the Storm. Jake Asquini (eight points) missed a shot, and instead of grabbing the rebound, a South Elgin defender tipped the ball in.
The Saints’ biggest lead of the night, 43-35, came after Dom Adduci (13 points) hit a 3-pointer two minutes into the third quarter. The Storm pulled within three, 54-51, at the end of the third quarter on a Matt McClure (18 points) layup.
South Elgin (17-14) took over the game in the final quarter, taking the lead on a Darius Wells bucket at the 6:32 mark. Wells had 13 points.
East’s shooting went cold in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, as the team was unable to make a basket until a Jake Clodi bucket with 4:51 to play.
South Elgin continued to pull away, taking advantage of trips to the free throw line. The Storm went 23 for 33 from the line while the Saints were only 5 of 10.
The Storm’s control of the glass and 10 second-half Saints turnovers aided South Elgin’s comeback.
“South Elgin played hard for 32 minutes,” Woods said. “We got out-rebounded which has kind of been our nemesis for losses all season.”
AJ Washington was the Saints’ top scorer with 14 points.
South Elgin’s Matthew Smith led all scorers with 26 points.