The names and faces change at Proviso East. The style and manner of play is a constant.
Fourth-year coach Donnie Boyce is trying to stitch together a group of veteran talent with some intriguing newcomers. The product remains a work in progress. The Pirates know what their identity is.
Playing off the all-around strong play of returning starters Antonio Williams and Kalin Fisher, the Pirates ripped off two dominant runs in the second quarter and start of the third quarter to smash No. 25 and previously undefeated St. Viator 67-49 in the Mac Irvin Shootout on Saturday at Larkin.
Proviso East (4-2) forced 19 St. Viator turnovers and showcased depth and versatility. “I really liked how we picked up the intensity in the second quarter, and that kick-started for us the rest of the game,” Boyce said.
“It started to look like some of the [state finalist] teams we had here our first two years with our defensive rotation, intensity and how we want to go after the other team.”
The Lions (4-1) rode the hot hand of swingman Pat McNamara to stay close through the first half that featured five ties and three lead changes. McNamara (24 points) scored his team’s final 11 points of the first quarter.
Guard Kevin Monson drilled a 3-pointer midway through the second quarter for a 19-15 Viator advantage. Proviso East dominated the balance of the game. Fisher’s drive to end the half keyed a 12-3 run that pushed the Pirates to a 27-22 lead at the break.
The run also foreshadowed what was to come as Williams sparked a 12-0 run in the opening three minutes of the third quarter. Rapidly improving Isaac Moore, a 6-6 wing forward, scored eight of his team-best 14 points in the quarter. He added nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
“That’s when we realized who the shooter was and we knew we had to get out there on No. 1 [McNamara],” Williams said. “I don’t think he scored in that third quarter and we talked about at halftime that we needed to push the tempo and finish on the break.”
Williams recorded 11 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Fisher scored 10 points and added seven rebounds. He also helped bother McNamara, holding him to just three points combined in the second and third quarters.
“I’m just trying to be more of a complete player, create for my teammates and pick up the energy on the defensive end, and that’s what we did, especially in the third quarter,” Fisher said.
No other player scored more than seven points for the Lions, who played without three-year starting guard Mark Falotico, who has not played a game yet because of complications with a foot injury.
Sal Cannella added four points and eight rebounds for the Lions.
Tyler Chison contributed 10 points for the Pirates, who had nine different players score.