Dom Adduci’s basket with seven seconds remaining gave St. Charles East a 48-46 win over Schaumburg on Wednesday.
Kendall Stephens netted 22 points as the Saints handed Schaumburg it’s second consecutive loss.
It was back and forth early with neither team able to get much of a rhythm in a tight defensive battle that resulted in Schaumburg leading 8-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Stephens was active early, scoring four of five of the teams baskets to start the game before Jordan Wilson’s three-pointer gave the Saints another contributor.
Even Stephens’ misses seemed to fall favorably, more often than not finding the hands of juniors AJ Washington (nine points, six rebounds, two steals) and David Mason, who cleaned the glass all game, scoring a majority of their points off put backs.
But Schaumburg put together a full team effort behind seniors Kyle Bolger (14 points) and Bobby Green (11 points), who willed their team to a 22-19 deficit at halftime.
“We have great senior leadership on this team and I expect that to improve as the season goes on,” Schaumburg coach Matt Walsh said. “We’re going to get better at that and a lot of other things here as the season progresses.”
The Saxons kept it close after the break, playing smart defense in holding Stephens to five points in the third quarter. Careful shot selection and a few favorable calls allowed Schaumburg to break through the Saints zone defense, pulling within one heading into the fourth.
“The game was very physical,” Stephens said. “Schaumburg’s a great team, you have to give them credit they made it hard for us to get into our offense.”
Stephens’ thunderous dunk set the tone for the fourth quarter as the Saints cut down on the fouls and tightened up the defense to pull away.
Adduci, sophomore guard Jake Asquini (seven points) and Washington, sparked the Saints at the right time, combining for a slew of tipped passes, blocks and rebounds that threatened to blow the game wide open.
But Bolger just wouldn’t go away, slicing to the basket and drawing fouls or setting up senior forward Jimmy Lundquist, whose six points were well-timed to keep the game close late.
In the end, though, it was Adduci who stole the show, hitting a runner in the paint to earn the win.
“We were looking for Kendall and he wasn’t there so I just went to the hoop,” Aducci said. “It felt great coming out of my hand and it was the best feeling ever once it went through.”
Next up for St. Charles East is a showdown against St. Joseph on Friday.
“I feel great moving forward, St. Joe’s is going to be a big test for us,” Stephens said. “We’re just going to take advantage of the day off, rest and get back to it.”