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East Aurora and Schaumburg each came into Friday afternoon’s game at the St. Charles East Thanksgiving tournament looking for their first win of the season.
Propelled by a third-quarter run, the Saxons staved off the Tomcats for a 57-47 victory. Schaumburg (1-2) will play in Saturday’s fifth-place game, while East Aurora (0-3) will look for a win in the seventh-place game.
After a sloppy first half for both teams, Schaumburg went on a 22-4 run to turn a 19-15 lead into a 41-19 advantage with less than two minutes left in the third quarter. Senior Kyle Bolger scored seven of his game-high 20 points in the quarter. Bobby Green, Jimmy Lundquist and Cole Reyes (10 points) each hit a three-pointer during the run.
“In the second half they came out and hit a couple shots, hit a couple threes and that made the difference in the ballgame,” said Tomcats coach Wendell Jeffries. “Then we tried to scrap our way back into the game.”
East Aurora went on a quick 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 51-43 with 2:09 left in the game. However, that was as close as the Tomcats would get as Schaumburg grabbed some big rebounds down the stretch and was sent to the line on every remaining possession.
“I thought our effort was good today. We feel like we have a lot of room for improvement,” said Schaumburg coach Matt Walsh. “Today was a step in the right direction. We feel like we know what we need to do in order to win.”
The Saxons’ defense carried them in the first half as their press led to eight first-half turnovers. The Tomcats finished with 18 turnovers.
“That’s what we do; that’s what we’re known for is our defense,” Walsh said. “We have a lot of room for improvement on defense, but our defense is far ahead of our offense.”
Schaumburg finished 20-of-49 shooting (41 percent), while East Aurora finished 37 percent shooting (16 of 43). Senior DeJon Talbert led the Tomcats with 14 points. Tyree Willis had 13 points, and Jonathan Villezcas finished with 12.
“Big step forward today,” Jeffries said. “We lost the first game by 30 and the second by 40. We improved defensively but offensively we didn’t execute and had too many turnovers. But overall it was a big improvement.”