LAKE ZURICH — Marian Central's Derreck Caldez could only do so much.
Standing at 5-foot-7, the Hurricanes' junior point guard often found room to zip through the lane against Wheaton North but he never got a clear look at the basket as the Falcons' 6-11 center, Andrew Zelis stood in his way.
The center's size also blocked passing outlets when the Hurricanes' players would get inside the paint and it threw a wrinkle into the approach.
"[Zelis] definitely messed up the game plan for us," Marian Central's Tommy Waytula said after the 68-28 loss to the Falcons at the Inaugural Lake Zurich Martin Luther King Classic. "He had at least seven blocks and when Derreck penetrates it's tough for him to get up a shot or find someone to kick it out to. He just really messed up our game plan but we shouldn't have let one guy do that to us."
The Hurricanes (2-18 overall, 1-3 Suburban Christian Blue Division) couldn't find any consistency on the offensive side of the ball Monday afternoon in either games — the first a 60-43 loss to host Lake Zurich.
There were flashes of solid offensive play but it wasn't sustainable as the defense allowed easy baskets. From the opening tip in the game against Wheaton North, the Hurricanes stormed out to a 6-3 lead, controlling both boards and making three shots in row but that all changed when the Falcons called a timeout with 6:19 to play in the first. The Falcons finished the quarter on a 13-2 run.
"At stretches we did play well," Marian head coach Curtis Price said. "Our game needs to start on the defensive end and we don't do it on a consistent basis. We may play good defense for a couple minutes but we need to maintain that defensive intensity for an entire ballgame and we're just not doing that."
When the second quarter opened, the Hurricanes made some plays and brought the game within 18-14 midway through the second but a lack of defense allowed the Falcons to go on a 14-2 run to end the half.
"We have to learn how to play a whole game," said Tommy Waytula who scored a team-high eight points. "We have played good quarters or even good halves but sometimes we come just out flat and the times we don't, then we need to find a way to keep the intensity throughout the game which we aren't doing. It's a mental block and we have to try and push through that because it happens to us a lot."
The Hurricanes went 0-4 throughout the two-day tournament, including losses to Streamwood and eventual champion Niles North on Jan. 19.
"It wasn't a good tournament for us," Price said, visibly dejected. "We struggled at the start and we struggled at the end. We need to go home and continue to work hard and the main thing is that we don't quit. I know as a coach I'm not going to quit and I hope the guys in there don't quit also because this thing can get turned around."
Price would be happy to hear that his team is staying positive and is ready to work. Caldez, who scored two points in the loss to the Falcons, added 10 against Lake Zurich and had this to say about attitude.
"This was a learning experience for us and I know we can learn from it," he said. "Our season if a little more than halfway over with and I know we can turn it around. We stay positive. Everyone in that locker room is staying positive so we're at least one step in the right direction."