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Hillcrest turns on heavy ‘D’, stops Plainfield East

Hillcrest senior DeAngelo Isby was just being honest after the Hawks forced 21 Plainfield East turnovers to key a 63-58 comeback win Saturday in the Chicago Elite Classic at UIC.

“We knew our guards were better than theirs,” Isby said. “Not to throw them under the bus, but this is Hillcrest defense.”

Hillcrest’s proud defensive tradition seems deeply ingrained in every Hawks player, more so than with any other program in the area. Tom Cappel started it and Don Houston has continued it.

Plainfield East jumped out to a 25-8 lead. Bengals star guard Aaron Jordan, an Illinois commit, scored 11 points in the first half before heading to the bench with foul trouble.

“It’s something I’ve been struggling with my whole high school career,” Jordan said. “I need to learn how to be aggressive but not get the fouls and stay in the game.”

Jordan sat most of the third quarter after picking up his fourth foul.

“They seemed pretty shaken when [Jordan] left,” Hillcrest senior Taylor Adway said. “Our defense was able to keep them on the ropes and start getting turnovers.”

Hillcrest took its first lead at 50-49 on a layup by George McDaniel with 5:20 to play in the game. McDaniel guarded Jordan for the majority of the game. He wasn’t able to totally shut down the talented senior, but he did limit his open shot attempts.

Jordan had a chance to give Plainfield East (2-3) the lead with 21 seconds to play but Cornelius McIntosh was able to tie him up for a jump ball. Hillcrest took possession and Myles McCoy drained two free throws to give the Hawks the lead for good.

“Those were two big clutch shots by [McCoy],” Adway said. “The whole team stepped up in the second half.”

Adway finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

“We were able to limit him pretty well in the first half before we got in foul trouble,” Plainfield East’s Elyjah Goss said. “But then we just had to lay off and play smart in the second half so he had some openings.”

Isby led Hillcrest (5-1) with 19 points. McCoy chipped in with 10 points and Stephon King scored six off the bench.

James Clarr and Justin Uju each scored nine for the Bengals and Goss added six points and 13 rebounds.

Plainfield East started the season in the preseason Super 25, but will have to address some serious ball-handling issues to return to the rankings.

“Practice,” Goss said. “That’s the only thing that’s going to fix it.”