Boys Basketball: East Aurora opens post-Ryan Boatright era with lossCharlie Fisher (left) of St. Charles East puts pressure on DeJon Talbert of East Aurora. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 21, 2011 10:14PM
The post-Ryan Boatright era at East Aurora opened with a turnover Monday night and it quickly became a recurring trend.
The inexperienced Tomcats survived nine of them in the opening quarter and only trailed 11-10, but 17 in the first half and 27 for the game took their toll in a 64-34 loss to the hosts in the teams’ opener of the 53rd Annual St. Charles East Thanksgiving Tournament.
Boatright’s younger brother, sophomore Mike McAllister, and his backups Mikos Jimenez and Steve Green all struggled with their ball-handling — and they weren’t alone.
“We just lack experience,” East Aurora coach Wendell Jeffries said. “We had just one varsity returner out there on the floor at the start. … Our guard play is gonna get better.
“I liked our grit, our toughness and willpower in the first half. But St. Charles East had a lot of experience out there. Seven of their guys had started at one point or another last year.”
Junior Kendall Stephens had eight of his 12 first-half points in the second quarter as the home team opened a 14-point lead sparked by an 8-2 run to open the second.
The Tomcats closed the half with a pair of free throws from senior Larry Reynolds and a three-pointer from DeJon Talbert to pull within 30-21. They cut the deficit to seven — 34-27 — three minutes into the third quarter before the Saints pulled away for good with an 11-0 run sparked by sophomore guard Dom Adduci, who had five of his 16 points in a four-minute spurt.
Stephens, limited to five second-half points, led all scorers with 17 points. St. Charles East had eight different players attempt three-pointers and finished 9 of 26 from beyond the three-point arc, sparked by Adduci’s 4-for-4 effort.
“There are gonna be nights we put up a lot of points when we’re shooting better,” Saints coach Patrick Woods said. “We didn’t shoot all that well but the kids were getting open looks and it’s hard not to shoot when that happens.”
His team had 18 turnovers.
“There was some sloppy play but I was happy they didn’t come out of (the Tomcats’) defensive pressure,” he said. “And I was definitely pleased that we played hard and got after it on defense.”
The Saints outscored the visitors 17-2 in the fourth quarter.
“I was very disappointed with the second half,” said Jeffries, whose team was led by Reynolds’ 12 points, all coming in the first half. “They turned it up another notch and we didn’t. I thought Larry got tired and that shouldn’t happen. He shouldn’t get shut out in the second half like that.”