Boys Basketball: Hillcrest’s tight defense gets best of EisenhowerHillcrest's Brent Buchanan (12) and Eisenhower's Nick Curta (55) struggle for the ball, at Wednesday night's game between Hillcrest and Eisenhower. | Paul James Bergstrom~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 11, 2012 9:04PM
A staple of its fast-paced style of play, Eisenhower unleashes an aggressive, trapping defense on opponents in hopes of forcing turnovers.
When it comes to aggressive, pressing defenses, though, no one does it better than Hillcrest.
Hosting Eisenhower on Wednesday night in a South Suburban crossover, the Hawks dominated defensively on their way to an 86-62 win.
“We just know how to play defense and do it as a team,” Hillcrest’s Jovan Mooring said. “We cause a lot of turnovers, and that leads to offense.”
The offense was abundant Wednesday, Mooring leading four players in double figures, scoring 24 points. Brent Buchanan (14 points), Virgil Fleming (13) and Kyle Oden (13) also contributed for No. 17 Hillcrest (13-3, 6-0).
Hillcrest forced 42 Eisenhower turnovers, leading by as much as 31 in the second half.
“We like playing up and down (the court),” Hillcrest coach Don Houston said. “They’ll do it all day if we let them. Overall, we can still play a little better.”
Eisenhower hit four three-pointers in the first quarter and led 18-11 before Hillcrest rallied to tie the score at 18 heading into the second period.
“We were a little rattled early from the pressure,” Mooring said. “We were trying to run with them, but we got it under control and found the open man.”
The Hawks shook off any first-quarter jitters, exploding offensively in the second. The defense forced 10 Eisenhower turnovers as the offense shot a sizzling 13-of-17 from the floor. Hillcrest outscored the Cardinals 34-17 in the frame and never looked back.
“Our mind-set is that we have two goals: win conference and win state,” Houston said. “We’re always trying to find a way to get better. We can’t get complacent and say ‘Well, we played a good game.’ ”
Eisenhower (5-13, 1-5) was paced by Tyrone Terrell’s 24 points on 6-of-17 shooting from three-point range. As a team, the Cardinals shot 12-of-34 from long distance.