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St. Ignatius’ early-season slump continues with loss to Chaminade

The Wolfpack began the season with a top-five ranking and aspirations to finish the season in Champaign. Things haven’t gone according to plan so far.

St Ignatius’ Jackson Kotecki (24) drives the ball past Chaminade.
St Ignatius’ Jackson Kotecki (24) drives the ball past Chaminade.
Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

St. Ignatius began the season with a top-five ranking and aspirations to finish the season in Champaign.

Things haven’t gone according to plan so far. The Wolfpack are only 3-4 after losing a high-profile game to St. Louis Chaminade on Saturday in the Chicago Elite Classic at Credit Union 1 Arena.

“We’re still the same team we were before the season started,” St. Ignatius junior Richard Barron said. “Everyone is going to lose a couple of games. It’s only the beginning; it doesn’t matter. We’re just going to keep working. We have an end goal in March, not right now. We may drop a couple, but we are never going to change our character.”

The Red Devils beat St. Ignatius 46-33. The Wolfpack didn’t have a field goal in the last 6:30.

“We got a lot better just during the course of that game,” St. Ignatius coach Matt Monroe said. “We’re certainly not satisfied with moral victories, but we saw a lot of improvement in a multitude of ways, especially on the defensive end.”

Senior guard AJ Redd led the Wolfpack with nine points and seven rebounds. Jackson Kotecki added eight points and five rebounds.

St. Ignatius led 19-17 at halftime. The Red Devils (2-0) took control with an 11-0 run midway through the fourth quarter.

“There’s no doubt in my mind we have what it takes to have a great season,” Monroe said. “For us to do that, we have to battle through this adversity and learn from it.”

Nilivan Daniels led Chaminade with 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Filip Sinobad added 13 points.

St. Ignatius was 3-for-15 from three-point range and 13-for-46 from the field overall. The Wolfpack lost at Leo on Friday night, so they went from one of the city’s smallest gyms to a college court in just a few hours.

“The college court was definitely no joke in terms of length and width,” Redd said. “There was a lot of up and down today, which tested our wind a little bit. But I think it was good because we were able to get out in open space and create for one another.’’

St. Ignatius opened the season with wins against Bulls Prep and Round Lake, then lost close games to Lake Forest and Loyola. The defeat at Leo was by 10 points.

“Our schedule is loaded,” Monroe said. “We’re playing great programs that run really effective systems. When we put our schedule together, we wanted to make sure our guys were going to be challenged. In all the games we’ve played, we’ve competed really well. Our guys are benefitting greatly from it. No matter what happens, I believe in them and what they’re going to do. That is never gonna waver, and we’re going to be stronger for it at the end of this.’’