ALGONQUIN – Playing the morning opener in a holiday tournament can be a volatile proposition.
So Crystal Lake Central boys basketball coach Rich Czeslawski got his players in the gym by 6:30, fed them breakfast, had a shoot-around and the Tigers responded with an aestheically pleasing performance.
Central shot 55.3 percent and put four players in double figures in a 74-55 victory over South Elgin in the Jacobs Holiday Classic opener Saturday at the Eagles’ Nest.
Central’s 6-foot-7 center Kyle Fleck scored 19 points and 6-6 forward David Panicko added 16 as the Tigers (8-1, 1-0 Pool II) rolled to the victory.
“That’s a scary game to get and [South Elgin] is a scrappy team,” Tigers coach Rich Czeslawski said. “We’ve been real happy with the way we’ve been sharing the ball. It’s fun basketball to watch when we’re doing that.”
Fleck hit 8 of 11 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers. Panicko hit 7 of 11. D.J. Thomas hit 5 of 5 3s for 15 points and Corban Murphy added 11 points, all in the second half.
“We got the ball inside, then we were work inside-outside and get 3s,” said guard Jake Vanscoyoc, who scored nine points. “In the beginning of the season we didn’t do as well against zone [defenses]. We got a lot better.”
Central started a little slow, falling behind 12-6, but finished the first quarter with 24 points. The Tigers passed the ball swiftly and often were able to find teammates for open layups.
“Nobody’s selfish here,” Murphy said. “We were moving the ball around and getting good shots. If that keeps up … good.”
South Elgin (2-11, 0-1) is playing without its two leading scorers, both of whom are injured. Guard Matt McClure nailed seven 3s and finished with 31 points for the Storm. Center Robert Grant added 16 points.
“I’m more disappointed in our guards than anything for the 19 turnovers we had,” Storm coach Chaz Taft said. “It’s just handling their pressure, and who wants to compete and who has the enthusiasm.”