Boys Basketball: Crane shakes off distractions, St Charles North
Crane’s basketball team received some bad news on Wednesday, learning the school is likely to be phased out and eventually closed. Despite that news the Cougars were able to knock off St. Charles North 52-45 Saturday in the Chicago Public Schools Shootout at the UIC Pavilion.
“After all the things that have been going on around here this week we needed something positive to happen for us,” Crane coach Chris Head said. “I’m really pleased with the way the kids responded down the stretch. We’re playing without three potential starters and the young guys really stepped up.”
Crane senior Willie Conner scored 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
“Coach pulled me to the side and told me it was time to show some leadership,” Conner said. “He told me if I wanted to be a leader now is the time to start leading.
The North Stars missed their last eight free throws and shot 1-for-9 from the line in the fourth quarter.
“That’s two games in a row where we haven’t shot well from the line,” St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said.
Quinten Payne (12 points, five rebounds) and Kyle Nelson (16 points, 11 rebounds). The North Stars were also broke from behind the arc, shooting just 4-for-31 from three-point range.
St. Charles North led 41-40 with 3:32 to play, but weren’t able to sustain anything without Payne and Nelson on the court. Crane took control with an 11-2 run in which the North Stars missed six free throws.
“We’re still learning how to play with each other,” Poulin said. “We have an awful lot of guys that are new to the varsity this year.”
Christopher Dailly and Isaiah Hayes each scored six points for the Cougars (1-0), who were outrebounded 32-22 by the North Stars (2-4).
“It’s a new coaching staff,” Conner said. “We are all learning about each other. We weren’t focused early in the game. But we got it together.”
Markee Williams, who transferred to Crane from Morgan Park this summer, did not play. He is still waiting for the CPS to rule on his eligibility.
Contributing: Clyde Travis