Boys Basketball: AJ Patty, Reggie Johnson lead St Joseph past Hales
Updated: November 30, 2011 10:16PM
Though his team might take some lumps in the early going, St. Joseph boys basketball coach Gene Pingatore believes a tough schedule will pay dividends down the road.
“Our schedule is not easy,” Pingatore said. “We’ve got De LaSalle, St. Rita and St. Pat’s coming up before the Proviso tournament, so those are the kinds of games that can help make us better.”
The Chargers were better Wednesday night then they showed while taking fourth place at last week’s St. Charles East tournament. St. Joseph placed four players in double figures in knocking off reigning Class 2A state champion Hales 59-42 in a Catholic League opener in Westchester.
“By the end of the year I think we could be a good team,” Pingatore said. “At one time we had three sophomores on the floor, so we’re very young. Even our seniors are not as experienced. We need to get them first to start paying attention and not making mental errors. But I think it’s a good sign.”
Host St. Joseph (3-2, 1-0) never trailed and led 24-12 midway through the second quarter following a layup by sophomore Karriem Simmons.
Hales (3-2, 0-1) trimmed the lead to 28-24 at the half and was within 39-34 in the fourth quarter before a three-point play by Avery Harmon got the Chargers back on track. The hosts closed the game on a 17-6 run.
“We gave them some runs at points, but we had to fight back and keep trying,” St. Joseph center A.J. Patty said. “That’s basically what we did.”
Patty, a 6-8 junior, played a big role, scoring 10 of his 14 points in the first half. He also grabbed 12 rebounds, just five fewer than Hales.
“He’s come a long way but he’s got a long way to go,” Pingatore said. “He’s got a big upside. He just has to get smarter. They all have to get smarter.”
Reggie Johnson had 14 points and five assists, while Harmon had 10 of his 12 points in the second half and Paul Turner chipped in 10 for the Chargers, who shot only 30 percent in a loss to Downers Grove South but were 21 of 35 (60 percent) against the Spartans.
“It’s all about shot selection,” Pingatore said. “Instead of jacking up shots from all over, we have to learn how to get good shots.”
Niji Lomax scored 11 points and Eddie Alcantara added 10 points, five rebounds and four steals for Hales, which made on 9 of 21 free-throw attempts, including 6 of 17 in the second half.
“[The win] kind of sets a high bar for us for the rest of the season because last year Hales was good and this year it didn’t seem like they lost much of a beat,” Patty said. “We had to come out and do what we had to do to win.”