Sandwich Thanksgiving Tournament

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2nd Round  Tuesday , November 22, 2005

5:00 Aurora Central 56 vs Streator     44

6:30 Sandwich       59 vs LaSalle-Peru 67

8:00 Oswego East    55 vs Plano        59

Unbeaten Chargers find way to finish

By Tim Wagner
STAFF WRITER - Beacon News
SANDWICH The fist pumps arrived midway through the fourth quarter and then came regularly, as Nathan Drye watched time wind down, while his Aurora Central Catholic basketball team figured a way to close out an opponent.

It's a new art for the Chargers this season, who so often seemed puzzled at crunch time last winter.

"I liked the fact that at the end of the game we knew how to finish it off," said Drye, whose team beat Streator 56-44 in the second round of the Sandwich Thanksgiving Tournament here Tuesday night. "Normally, last year, that's the time we'd lose the game. We've turned it around completely ... I'm pumped."

The Chargers are off to a 2-0 start, already winning a quarter of the games they did in 2004-05.

Another encouraging fact is ACC learned it can compete without the regular presence of center Mike Benjamin. Though he was saddled with foul trouble and missed nearly 10 minutes of action, Benjamin poured in a game-high 25 points, including 14 in the first half before heading to the bench with his third personal at the 3:05 mark of the second quarter.

Benjamin picked up No. 4 with 4:07 left in the third, but the Chargers didn't sway much either way, holding a 36-33 lead entering the fourth.

"We want to be a team that can still win even if (Benjamin's) not playing well (or is in foul trouble," Drye said. "Even though all we did tonight was tread water, we want to be able to hold our own."

Benjamin resurfaced midway through the fourth and sparked ACC with an inside basket and a 40-39 lead, spearheading an 11-0 run to go up 49-39 with 2:16 to go. A 9-for-11 effort from the foul line in the fourth quarter allowed ACC to remain unbeaten heading into its third game of round-robin play when the Chargers meet Plano at 8 tonight.

Sophomore Mark Adams joined Benjamin in double figures with 11 points, and teammate Nick Nelson chipped in with 9. ACC connected in 16 of 19 free throws. The Chargers enjoyed a two-game winning streak just once last season.

"(The morale) is up," Drye said. "But, like I told (the players), it doesn't take too long to get snapped back to reality, so we've got to keep building on this."

LaSalle-Peru 67, Sandwich 59 Just 24 hours earlier, the host Indians were dealt a 38-point loss by Aurora Central. On Tuesday, they found themselves down just four with 35 seconds to play.

"A little turnaround? I'd say 180 degrees," said Sandwich coach Chris Johnson. "I never said this to (the players) before the game, but after I watched L-P blow out Plano (78-42 on Monday), I was nervous. It we would have come out like we did (Monday) night, it might have been worse."

But the Indians (0-2) were within striking distance throughout, trailing 34-33 at intermission, then 47-45 after three quarters. Johnson's hockey-style substitution pattern (5 in, 5 out) preserves fresh legs, as Sandwich has switched from a set-up offense to sprinter's pace.

"It makes me feel better that what we're trying to do shows positive signs of working," Johnson said. "I know I'll get more than four hours of sleep tonight. I'm in a lot better mood after seeing what can be done."

Sandwich received scoring from nine players -- in the first quarter, alone, and 10 total. Lance Futrell, Mike Meyer and Alan Ritchie each scored 11 points for the Indians. Brett Zawacki went nuts for L-P, netting 30 points, while sinking five 3-pointers.

Plano 59, Oswego East 55, OT Oswego East held Plano to just six points in the fourth quarter, but the Reapers returned the favor in overtime, outscoring East 10-6 to secure its first victory.

Alex Jensen scored a game-high 17 points for Plano to go along with six rebounds and four steals. Will Brown had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Obina Agomo added 14 points.

Oswego East (1-1) was led by Avrey Smith and and Alex Sullivan, each with 12 points.


Plano and L-P win, Bulldogs fall at Sandwich
JEFF GLADE,, (815) 431-4043

SANDWICH -- The Plano Reapers broke the trends Tuesday night at the Sandwich Thanksgiving Tournament, becoming the only team to lose its opener that came back to get a win -- edging past Oswego East 59-55 in overtime. Otherwise, Aurora Central Catholic moved to 2-0 with a win over 0-2 Streator, while 2-0 La Salle-Peru held off 0-2 Sandwich.
The round-robin tournament continues tonight with L-P taking on Oswego East at 5 p.m., Streator vs. Sandwich at 6:30 and then Plano vs. Aurora Central Catholic at 8 p.m.

Plano 59, Oswego East 55 (OT)

The Plano Reapers might still be trying to find their basketball legs, but they definitely found their defense, shutting down the athletic Oswego East offense in the overtime period to claim their first win of the season.
"This is definitely a big win for us against a quality AA opponent that's going to win more than a few games before this season is over," Plano coach Nate Spriggs said. "And this is for a team that has all been together, other than our two games now, for a 10-minute walkthrough before we got on the bus to come over Monday. "And the bottom line was that we challenged these guys to come out and play defense tonight ... especially Alex Jensen, who had a bad rap last year, especially from me, because of his defense. To get to the elite status of player, he has to play defense and tonight he really did that was a big spark."
Jensen also was a big spark on the offensive end, with the senior guard scoring a game-high 17 points, while forward Obina Agomo had 14 and center Will Brown added 14 points and 13 rebounds. The biggest points may have come from Brown though, who went 2-for-2 from the charity stripe with the game on the line. "They scouted us pretty well, because my assistant from last year, Kevin Jansen, is a part of their program now," Spriggs said. "So they knew that if they had to foul, Will Brown was the guy and he knocked down two big free throws right at the end and gave us a big lift. We knew if he could do it in that situation, so could we."

Key: fgm-fga ftm-fta tp

PLANO (59) - Agomo 6-15 1-2 14, Bott 1-4 1-2 4, Brown 6-14 2-2 14, Jensen 6-17 2-2 17, Priesman 3-14 0-0 8, Green 0 0-2 0, Wilson 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 23-69 6-8 59.

OSWEGO EAST (55) - Ormsbee 2-4 0-0 4, Pearson 4-9 0-0 9, Holmes 4-7 0-0 8, Mudra 1-2 0-0 2, Sullivan 6-9 0-0 12, Lozano 1-2 2-2 4, Fisher 2-3 0-0 4, Smith 4-12 2-4 12. Totals 24-48 4-6 55.

Score by quarter and overtime:

Plano (1-1)        13 19 11 6 10 - 59
Oswego East (1-1)  14 12 13 10 6 - 55

Three-point baskets - Plano 7-25 (Jensen 3-12, Priesman 2-8, Agomo 1-1, Bott 1-4); Oswego East 3-10 (Smith 2-7, Pearson 1-3). Rebounds – Plano 33 (Brown 13, Agomo 6, Jensen 6); Oswego East 33 (Ormsbee 9, Pearson 6). Turnovers - Plano 12; Oswego East 19. Total fouls (none fouled out) - Plano 11, Oswego East 12. Field goal percentage - Plano 33.3; Oswego East 50.0. Three-point percentage - Plano 26.9; Oswego East 30.0. Free throw percentage Plano 75.0; Oswego East 66.7.

Aurora Central Catholic 56, Streator 44

It was another night of ups and downs for the Bulldogs offense, which just seemed to pick the wrong time for their final down -- converting just one shot from the field in the final 5:30 as Central Catholic broke a 38-38 tie and pulled away for a 12-point win.

"We shot the ball streaky last year, so this is not that much of a surprise," Streator coach Brandon Creason said. "But in practice, when you go for a layup against a 6-foot kid there's no problem. Here we're going in against 6-8 kids and that's going to change your shots. In practice we have no threat, now we're facing a threat and we were just struggling with point blank layups and free throws. You can't do that and expect to win."

Still, after a slow start as the Bulldogs fell behind 8-0 after missing their first nine shots from the field, the team battled back and put itself in a position to win -- starting the fourth quarter strong, tying the game at 38 when Brandon VanDuzer converted a layup off a steal and then moved ahead 39-38 on a Jake Hollinsaid free throw, things still looked good with 4:28 left in the game.

The Bulldogs wouldn't score again for nearly two and a half minutes though, as ACC big man Mike Benjamin and guard Mark Adams led the Chargers on an 11-0 run that all but put the game out of reach.

"Nothing looks good when you're shooting poorly and all the good things we were doing tend to get lost," Creason said. "We did some good things on defense, we made some nice plays ... but when you can't score all of that is moot. It just seemed like we were always doing enough to keep hanging around, but never enough to capitalize and get the win."

Key: fgm-fga ftm-fta tp

STREATOR (44) - VanDuzer 5-15 2-4 14, Urtachko 1-5 2-4 4, Ingold 2-11 0-0 5, Nicklin 1-4 0-0 2, Hollinsaid 2-4 2-4 6, Ramon 2-8 0-0 4, Bedecker 1-2 0-0 3, Murray 0-1 0-2 0, Kling 0-0 1-2 1, Martin 1-6 3-4 5, Malley 0-0 0-0 0, Erschen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-56 10-20 44.

AURORA CENTRAL CATHOLIC (56) - Nelson 3-5 5-6 11, Benjamin 10-12 5-6 25, Mi. Adams 0-0 0-0 0, Ma. Adams 4-9 2-2 11, Craig 0-1 2-2 2, Totten 2-4 0-1 5, Patterson 0-1 0-0 0, Kelley 0-1 0-0 0, Bieritz 0-4 2-2 2. Totals 19-37 16-19 56.

Score by quarter:

Streator (0-2) 11 17 5 11 - 44
ACC (2-0)      17 7 12 20 - 56

Three-point baskets - Streator 4-18 (VanDuzer 2-6, Bedecker 1-2, Ingold 1-5, Nicklin 0-1, Hollinsaid 0-1, Martin 0-3); ACC 2-8 (Totten 1-2, Ma. Adams 1-3, Nelson 0-1, Bieritz 0-2). Rebounds - Streator 28 (VanDuzer 10, Uratchko 8); ACC 30 (Benjamin 10, Nelson 6). Turnovers – Streator 19; ACC 27. Total fouls (none fouled out) – Streator 16; ACC 15. Field goal percentage - Streator 26.8; ACC 51.4. Three-point percentage - Streator 22.2; ACC 25.0. Free throw percentage - Streator 50.0; ACC 84.2.

La Salle-Peru 67, Sandwich 59

The Cavaliers moved to 2-0 on the season, but the Indians made getting there a lot more difficult than the final score would indicate.

Trailing 17-16 after one quarter, L-P made a second quarter run to lead by one at half and by two after three quarter. Then it finally started to stretch the lead when Clay Mudge went inside and then Brett Zawacki hit an NBA range 3-pointer to make it a 7-point game. And hitting free throws, that's right about where they Cavs kept it the rest of the way.

"We were about as unfundemental as you can get and still win a basketball game," Cavalier coach Luke Yaklich said. "But I felt like the key was that we were able to make two big runs when we had to have them. The first was in the second quarter, when we closed on a 9-0 run to take a 1-point lead into halftime. That was a huge lift for us. The other came in the fourth quarter, where we finally got ourselves just a little breathing room and kind of forced them out of their comfort zone."

Sandwich coach Chris Johnson still felt positive after the loss. After all, this was a lot closer than the 38-point opening night loss to Aurora Central Catholic.

"Really, I feel so much better because now I can honestly tell myself that the first game was just an off night and maybe the nerves got to us a little bit," Johnson said. "Tonight was a complete turnaround and we just played great. I'm sure L-P was asking themselves at halftime what they got themselves into, because we looked like a completely different team. But they hit their free throws and held on to the ball well down the stretch when they had to."

Key: fgm-fga ftm-fta tp

LA SALLE-PERU (67) - Heider 3-8 1-2 7, Hughes 0-0 0-0 0, Dresbach 1-2 1-4 3, Michaelson 1-1 1-2 3, Sipovic 5-10 6-8 16, Atkins 1-3 0-2 2, Zawacki 10-15 7-8 32, Hudson 0-1 0-0 0, Mudge 2-4 0-0 4, Bray 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-55 16-26 67.

SANDWICH (59) - Roach 3-7 2-4 8, Heibel 1-1 0-0 2, Munson 0-0 3-4 3, Ritchie 4-8 0-0 11, Meyer 4-6 2-2 11, Buttels 1-4 0-0 2, Futrell 5-10 0-0 11, VanPelt 2-7 1-1 5, Weinlader 1-1 0-0 2, Gordon 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 23-47 8-11 59.

Score by quarter:

La Salle-Peru (2-0) 16 18 13 20 - 67
Sandwich (0-2)      17 16 12 14 - 59

Three-point baskets - L-P 5-14 (Zawacki 5-8, Heider 0-1, Atkins 0-1, Hudson 0-1, Bray 0-1, Sipovic 0-2); Sandwich 5-18 (Ritchie 3-7, Meyer 1-1, Futrell 1-4, Buttels 0-1, Gordon 0-1, VanPelt 0-4). Rebounds – L-P 24 (Mudge 6, Dresbach 6); Sandwich 15 (Meyer 5). Turnovers - L-P 25; Sandwich 26. Total fouls (fouled out) - L-P 13 (none); Sandwich 23 (VanPelt). Field goal percentage - L-P 41.8; Sandwich 48.9. Three-point percentage - L-P 35.7; Sandwich 27.7. Free throw percentage - L-P 61.5; Sandwich 72.7.