Third quarter fireworks : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Third quarter fireworks|
| Panthers trail by one, spark 25-2 run to defeat Wolves |
|by Kristin Sharp|
The Oswego boys' basketball team has enjoyed 20, 30 - even 40 - point leads over several Southwest Prairie Conference teams this season.
Last Friday night in a home game against crosstown rival Oswego East, the Panthers found themselves trailing 33-32 in the early seconds of the third quarter. That's when Oswego went on a 25-2 run to create a 57-35 lead with 67 seconds left in the third.
Oswego East (10-12, 6-5 SPC) could not recover as Oswego (23-2) won 73-60 in front of a sold-out crowd and is now 11-0 atop the league standings after an 80-49 blowout win over Plainfield Central on Tuesday.
"We needed a game like this and we knew we were going to get it. (Oswego East head coach Ron) Murphy's kids play as hard as anyone on our schedule," Oswego head coach Kevin Schnable said. "We knew we were going to get a street fight, so to speak, and we needed that challenge tonight, especially at this time of year."
Oswego senior Elliot McGaughy was a key contributor in the Panthers' victory, jump-starting the game with a layup and three-pointer on his way to a 31-point effort and a historic finish, becoming Oswego's all-time leading scorer. He came into Friday's game 22 points behind 1999 graduate Chris Silagi's total of 1,430 points.
"I'm glad that I accomplished that goal, but that wasn't my main goal. My main goal was to get the win, and that's what we did," McGaughy said.
McGaughy scored an additional 19 points against Yorkville for a total of 1,458 career points through weekend play. He is currently averaging 17.8 points per game this season.
Despite Oswego's quick start, Oswego East matched the Panthers' intensity as seniors Kendall Dorsey, CJ Vaughan, Scooter Smith and junior Mike McAllister helped the Wolves outscore the Panthers 8-3 and give Oswego East a 16-10 lead late in the first quarter.
McGaughy scored at the 1:00 mark, senior Jamaal Richardson took a charge under the Wolves' basket and Oswego senior Miles Simelton (22 points) followed with a layup to cut Oswego East's lead to one, 16-15, entering the second quarter.
Oswego senior Darion Reddick (13 points) opened the second quarter with a three-pointer, but Vaughan (16 points) added four points at the foul line to keep the Wolves ahead. McGaughy gave Oswego a brief lead with two points at the free-throw line and another two on his layup, but the Wolves reclaimed a 27-24 lead on a Vaughan putback.
Simelton stepped up with a jumper, a three-pointer and an assist to McGaughy for a fan-friendly dunk in a span of 60 seconds to lift Oswego to a 31-27 lead.
"He had a nice night," Schnable said of McGaughy. "He came to play from start to finish. He kept us in, especially in the first half. He scored in different ways, inside and out. It's a nice night for him and a nice night for us. I've got to find a way to thank all of our Panther fans. That is a home court advantage. Panther Country was jumping tonight, and our kids need to play in that kind of environment. We're gearing up, so we need to play in that atmosphere."
But Oswego's lead didn't last as Vaughan poured in four quick points before halftime to cut the Panthers lead to one, 32-31, at intermission.
Oswego East crept ahead 33-32 on a free-throw, but Simelton kicked off Oswego's incredible third-quarter run with a field goal, followed with a three-pointer and watched as sophomore Ryan West drained another three-pointer for the Panthers.
Oswego East called a timeout immediately after West's basket and Dorsey (17 points) scored for the Wolves, but the Panthers went on a 13-0 run from that point to lead 57-35.
"We talk about playing fast and physical, and I thought the third quarter we established our physicality," Schnable said. "Our defense generated our offense in the third quarter. We're flying around, we're diving on the floor and the ball's going the other way. That's how we get our transition going. We played very well in the third."
Oswego senior Jack Kwiatkowski got into the action with a field goal, Simelton hit another three-pointer and Reddick converted on a three-point play during the stretch.
McAllister (10 points) ended the run with a three-pointer, but the damage was done.
"They're capable of that, and we knew that going in," Murphy said of Oswego's run. "It shows just how good they are with the ball in their hands. They sped us up, and we didn't respond very well. They're capable of going on runs like that. Those two guys (Simelton and McGaughy) were very good tonight, and there's not a lot to say about it."
Despite falling behind 59-38 to start the fourth quarter, Oswego East did not fold. Dorsey drained a three-pointer with 7:03 to play in the game, senior Jordan Baker scored and Vaughan hit a three-pointer before McAllister made two at the foul line.
Suddenly, Oswego East's 21-point deficit was cut to 10, 65-55 with 1:55 left to play. A three-point play by Dorsey cut the Wolves' lead to single digits, 67-58, but Oswego went 6-for-6 at the free-throw line down the stretch to seal its 13-point win.
"There's something to be said for staying in the game, continuing to play hard, and I think we did that," Murphy said. "I don't know how smart we played, but we played hard at times. On the flip side, I think they beat us to loose balls, they were more physical than us tonight, and that led to some runs."
Oswego East came into last week on a six-game win streak, but losses to Plainfield North and Oswego left the Wolves in search of a victory against Romeoville on Tuesday as SPC play resumed.
Oswego East did just that, dispatching Romeoville 70-49. Vaughan topped the 1,000-point milestone as he scored his 14th points of the game. He finished with 30 points including five three-pointers. Vaughan is the third player to reach the 1,000-point mark in program history.
"Two things can happen this time of year: you get better, or you don't," Murphy said. "Fortunately for us, we had an opportunity to play a good team tonight and hopefully that's something can build on moving forward. There's obviously some things that we haven't done in transition. I think the last two games we've given up 140 points; prior to that, we were limiting teams to mid-50s, low 50s, which is more where we want to be at."
Oswego East will host Plainfield Central on Friday before hosting Metea Valley next Tuesday at 7 p.m. Then, two games remain in the regular season, traveling to Plainfield South on Feb. 15 before hosting Minooka on Feb. 21.
On Saturday, Oswego traveled to Yorkville for a non-conference meeting with the Foxes and won 75-52 as McGaughy scored 19 points with nine rebounds, and Simelton scored 18 points in the win.
The Panthers will host Minooka on Friday for its Hall of Fame night, and will close out the regular season with a home game against Plainfield North on Feb. 15 before visiting Romeoville on Feb. 21.