Boys Basketball: Hinckley-Big Rock’s Jared Madden keys Royals’ dominance over DixonJared Madden (middle) of Hinckley-Big Rock drives between Dixon defenders Hayden Ikens (left) and Scott Goad. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 26, 2011 10:09PM
By PAUL JOHNSON
Hinckley-Big Rock’s basketball team appeared destined for a sluggish start after a week off amid the prolonged holiday break.
In the Royals’ opener of the Plano Christmas Classic opener against Dixon Monday, nothing could be further from the truth.
Hinckley-Big Rock played what coach Bill Sambrookes called his team’s best first half of basketball en route to a convincing 60-37 win.
“I’m really happy with the way they played,” Sambrookes said. “We tried to stress that as much as we could, that we can’t overlook this game because upsets happen all the time. All we had to do is look past them and they could have knocked us off. It’s a credit to my guys for keeping that focus, especially after the long break and the holiday.”
Dixon (1-9) came in as the final seed in the 24-team field, but the Dukes trailed just 13-8 late in the first quarter.
But the Royals (10-2) were just warming up. Hinckley-Big Rock took the game over with an 18-2 run. They hit all eight of their free throw attempts in that stretch. Jared Madden, who recorded four steals, scored a game-high 20 points. He repeatedly made the key plays to help bury the Dukes.
“It could be easy to overlook this, but Dixon is a big school with a good program,” Madden said. “You have to go hard. I kept getting steals on defense and we gave up [only] one offensive rebound in the first half. They got one shot every time.”
The Royals’ dominant performance was reflected by their heavy statistical advantage: They hit 11-of-12 free throws, 11-of-14 two-point field goal attempts, held a 16-to-8 rebounding edge and forced eight turnovers in running out to a 33-12 lead at the half.
In the third, Madden scored 10 points during a 14-3 run that swelled the lead 51-19.
“He’s been shooting the ball really well and he’s been scoring more lately,” Sambrookes said of Madden. “He makes so much happen on the defensive end. I’m glad he’s looking to score more because he can obviously help us that way.”
Blake Conley added 13 in the win for the Royals.