Elgin found the perfect complement to its new zone defense and unleashed it against Dundee-Crown Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Elgin Holiday Tournament.
The Maroons started trapping all over the court and the Chargers struggled with shooting much of the game, or even to get a shot off in the third quarter, in Elgin’s 56-37 victory.
“That was actually the first time we’ve done it with a full-court press in the this tournament,” Elgin center Kiko Mari said. “We’ve gone through a few walk-throughs.
“We had been working on using the zone more but the problem in the zone was we weren’t attacking people on defense. Coach said if it slows us down, the trap lets us get out and attack people and get into the game more.”
Dundee-Crown committed seven third-quarter turnovers and got off only six shots from the floor, but by then the Chargers’ shooting had already buried them. They hit just 4-of-27 from the floor in the first half (15 percent) and had made only 5-of-33 (15 percent) through three quarters.
“I thought we got some good looks and we just didn’t make any,” Dundee-Crown coach Lance Huber said. “Sometimes that’s contagious.
“Maybe it was Hubie Brown who said, ‘you look a lot smarter when the ball goes in the basket.’ “
Elgin looked smarter the first three quarters in that case, and led 30-11 by halftime and 40-13 after three quarters.
“All the shots were contested,” Elgin coach Mike Sitter said. “They didn’t get a lot of open looks.
“If we boxed out (on the boards) better the game would have been over a lot earlier.”
Elgin (5-7), which moved on to play at 6:45 p.m. Friday in the semifinals against Harlan, got eight first-quarter points from Desmond Sanders in a 10-point, five-rebound effort. Mari had 10 points and seven boards and Isaiah Butler and Lavion Baldwin had 12 points each for Elgin.
Dundee-Crown (3-7) had 18 points from Kiwaun Seals, including 12 in the fourth quarter, and plays a consolation bracket game against Rockford East Friday at 12:15 p.m.