By Matt Nestor
The good news for the Boylan Titans is they finished their annual Thanksgiving basketball tournament with the only undefeated record, winning all four games over the four-day tournament.
The tough part for Head Coach Steve Goers as the Titans ready for NIC-10 conference play is to figure out how to hold a lead.
In all four games, Boylan started off hot and built up double-digit point leads. In all four games, the Titans blew those leads before recovering to pull out a tight victory.
“What I liked was our resiliency,” Goers said. “I like the fact that we’re able to, you know it’s bad, but we found a way to come back and persevere. It’s hard to regain momentum once you lose momentum.”
No game was as exciting as the best game of the tournament, when Boylan blew a 17-point third-quarter lead against Schaumburg before recovering to win in overtime.
For Goers and the Titans, the four close wins still leave a lot to be desired before conference play begins. The coach said he hopes his Titans can play better with a lead as the season grows older.
The Titans were led by Chris Miller and Jason Painter in the tournament. Both earned all-tournament honors for the Titans.
“I thought Chris Miller had an outstanding tournament,” Goers said. “And certainly Jason Painter did as well. I was proud of them.”
Schaumburg finished with three wins to take second place in the tournament. They were led by Johnny Kirk, who averaged a tournament-high 22 points per game in making the all-tournament team, which included a 31-point outburst in the overtime classic with Boylan.
Schaumburg was also the only team to beat Auburn in the tournament, which broke a tie with the Knights, who also won three in the tournament.
For the Knights, the early season tournament was a success. While coach Bryan Ott wasn’t sure if his team was game-ready coming into the tournament, their top three players proved they were more than ready for primetime.
Fred Van Vleet, Anthony Strickland and Joseph Danforth all played brilliantly, with Danforth and Van Vleet earning all-tournament honors for the weekend. Danforth averaged 21 points per game during the tournament.
The Jefferson J-Hawks went 2-2 in their four-game set. Jefferson played well in the first two games, topping Chicago Carver and Barrington. But Schaumburg and Chicago Harper proved too much for the J-Hawks in their last two games.
For the J-Hawks, they displayed a balanced attack that will be the key for the whole season. Jermarkus Lovett turned in several good performances, scoring in double figures three of four games, while Mario Manns also scored in double figures multiple times in the tournament.
For East, the tournament was a learning experience for the young E-Rabs. East picked up their only victory in the final game of the tournament, topping Carver, who was the only team to go without a win in the tournament.
Sophomore Javon Henderson stood out for the E-Rabs in the lone victory. He scored 11 points, most of them late in the game, wreaking havoc with his pressure defense and attacking the basket. Senior Eric Hollins led the team with 16 points in the win.
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From the December 2-8, 2009 issue