Boys Basketball: Oswego races past Geneva in second halfOswego's Jack Kwiatkowski (left) and Geneva's Ben Rogers battle for a rebound during the Hoops for Healing tournament at Oswego East High School in Oswego, Ill., on Monday, Nov. 21, 20111.
| Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media
Steal by steal, the Oswego boys basketball team pulled away from Geneva in Monday’s season-opener at the Oswego Hoops for Healing Tournament.
It was, in fact, 11 steals alone for the Panthers in the third quarter that forced the game’s tempo to their liking and created separation in a 58-43 win.
“We allowed their pressure to get to us rather than make their pressure work against them,” said Geneva coach Phil Ralston, whose team turned the ball over 13 times in the third quarter and scored just four points. “We didn’t make very good decisions. They have a very athletic team and we let their strength play to an advantage.”
Oswego starters Ryan West, Miles Simelton and Elliot McGaughey scored 12 points each, this despite shooting a combined 14-for-37 and 3-for-15 from 3-point range.
“Defensively, we held them under 50 points and that was one of our goals before the game,” said West, who added eight rebounds, three assists and four steals. “Our defense generates our offense and that’s what we did tonight.”
Oswego (1-0) finally got the fastbreak opportunities in the third quarter after being stifled by Geneva’s zone defense in the first half as the Panthers went to the halftime break up just 26-23.
“You go through so much in two weeks of practice — it’s a crash course — and I neglected zone offense,” said Oswego coach Kevin Schnable, accepting the blame for the team’s shooting struggles in the first half when his team became perimeter jumpshooters instead of attacking gaps. “I thought based on experience and skill we should collectively beat a zone, but we struggled. It slowed us down. If we weren’t getting a transition basket, we struggled to score.”
And that’s when Oswego bottled up Geneva (0-1), which lacks a true point guard to bring the ball up the court under intense pressure and quickness.
“They were flying all over the court,” said the Vikings’ Brendan Leahy, who led all scorers with 18 points after knocking down four 3s, while also corralling eight rebounds. “Tough loss.”
Jack Kwiatkowski scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Simelton and McGaughey combined for 11 steals in a well-rounded effort.
“First game jitters, we got those out,” Simelton said. “Now we can focus on shooting the ball and working off each other because teams don’t know who to stop because we have so many people that can score the ball.”