Elgin uses tough 'D' to beat St. Charles East


Elgin uses tough 'D' to beat St. Charles East

By Michael O'Brien

Kory Brown and Arie Williams dont have jaw-dropping talent. Neither player is heading to Duke or North Carolina or even the Big Ten -- but they have the intelligence and drive that makes Elgin a serious contender to advance to Peoria in March.The Maroons suffered an early-season loss to Geneva, but Friday against visiting St. Charles East, they proved they had learned a valuable lesson from the loss.Coach Mike Sitter told us St. Charles East tries to score 70 every game, Brown said. Every person on that team has a jump shot we respect. We learned in the Geneva game that we had to focus on our defense.Brown, Williams and the rest of Elgin (7-1, 2-1) kept those jump shots from falling, holding the Saints scoreless for the first six minutes of the game on the way to a 55-39 victory in Upstate Eight River action.We were pretty excited coming in with all the hype, Williams said. It was our first Friday night game of the year and I think that energy helped us get out to the hot start.Brown, a 6-4 senior, led the way with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Cortez Scott added 13 points and Williams finished with 12 points and four steals.Stealing the ball is just my skill, Williams, a 5-8 junior, said. I sneak up on them. Youve got to be quiet and approach them. Im like a little lion.St. Charles East threatened to mount a late comeback after Kendall Stephens three-pointer with 4:52 to play cut the Elgin lead to 44-36. But Brown drove the lane and elevated for a jumper on the next possession, igniting an 8-0 run that put the game away.Stephens, a Purdue recruit, is one of the top juniors in the country. He led the Saints (6-3, 3-1) with 17 points and four rebounds. He shot 6 of 18 from the floor and 2-for-10 from three-point range.We knew we had to get up and make sure we had a hand in their face at all times, Brown said. We practiced getting around the screens and piggybacking all week.

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

The Blackhawks’ starts have been all over the map this season but their finishes have usually been strong. That was the case again on Sunday night as the Blackhawks took a lead, lost a lead and regained a lead for good in their 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

This one featured a little bit of everything. So let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over Vancouver.

1. Jonathan Toews breaks through. If the Blackhawks captain’s confidence was a little shaken with his lack of scoring this season, it should’ve gotten a boost with his Sunday outing. Toews’ goal and three assists were as big for him as they were the Blackhawks, who needed every bit of it late against the Canucks. In his last 12 games Toews has three goals and eight assists. He’s getting there. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “it seems like he was around the puck way more and when he does that, usually good things happen.”

2. Great start. This hasn’t been written very often but it was more than evident on Sunday night. If this wasn’t the Blackhawks’ best opening period of the season it was pretty close, as they broke out to a 2-0 lead against the Canucks. The Blackhawks, outside of a 3 ½-minute sequence without a shot on goal, were tenacious and ready to shoot, taking an 18-9 shots-on-goal edge in that first.

3. Corey Crawford rebounds. Quenneville considered Scott Darling for this game, an understandable thought with Darling coming off a 30-stop shutout. But he wanted Crawford to get back to where he was prior to his appendectomy, and Crawford took a step in that direction on Sunday night. In stopping 25 of 27 shots Crawford got his 18th victory of the season and 200th of his career. Quenneville said Crawford “looked like he was in control.”

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4. Michal Kempny’s tough stretch. When Kempny has been good this season he’s been very good. When he’s been bad... The defenseman was in the penalty box when the Canucks scored their first goal and he was beaten by Bo Horvat on the Canucks’ second goal. Kempny didn’t play the final 14 minutes of the game. Quenneville, who liked what Kempny brought on the team’s road trip, said Kempny just has to work through some things. “Coverage with awareness and knowing sometimes it’s man coverage, sometimes it’s playing the puck and clearing the loose stuff,” Quenneville said. “Defenseman is a tough position as you’re growing and learning it, but the more you play the better you play and I still think he’s making progress.”

5. Brian Campbell gets to keep No. 500 this time. Campbell thought he had his 500th point against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night but it was taken away. Well he got it back on Sunday night, setting up Richard Panik’s 11th goal of the season in the first period.