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Sandburg's Tim Prendergast (11) attempts to block Andrew's Jubril Adekoya (23) during Tuesday night's game between Sandburg and Andrew high schools. | Paul Bergstrom ~ For Sun-Times Media
Andrew hung its hat on defense for much of its success last season.
Thunderbolts coach Mike O’Halloran has spent much of the first few weeks of this year’s campaign wondering where it was.
He found it Tuesday night at Sandburg.
Man-to-man, Andrew was able to hold the Eagles to single digits in each of the first three periods and cruise to a 50-28 SouthWest Suburban crossover victory.
Glorind Lisha topped the T-bolts (4-4) offensively with 13 points, while Jarvion Franklin had 11 points and eight rebounds and Jubril Adekoya 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Sandburg (0-9) received nine points and seven rebounds from Nico Cahue and eight points from Tim Prendergast.
After the Eagles closed to within 22-17 on an early third-period layup by Prendergast, the T-bolts hit them with a 17-2 sledgehammer.
“We started making more defensive plays and then we were more patient on the offensive end and got our looks,” said Lisha, who, after Franklin started the outburst with a bank-in and two free throws, drained Andrew’s second three-pointer of the night.
Sandburg, meanwhile, effectively moved the balla around but little of it translated into points as Andrew closed its man-to-man coverage around the basket.
“That’s [defense] what we always emphasize,” O’Halloran said. “But at the beginning of the season we’ve played some quality teams and it wasn’t there.
“As the season has gone alone, our defense is getting better. Our rebounding is really doing well. If we can get anywhere near last year, we’ll be OK.”
For Sandburg, which was within a point late in the first period, the struggle to score continues.
“It’s hard. It’s frustrating,” Eagles coach Todd Allen said. “We’re kind of hanging around in games for a while and I think we’re doing a decent job sometimes, but we just have these droughts where we go a long time between baskets. The third quarter was the perfect example [Tuesday].
“We’re just struggling shooting the ball. We work on it … but it’s tough right now.”