CARPENTERSVILLE – When loose balls and rebounds continually find their way into the same player’s hands, part of it can be attributed to good fortune, while part is due to hard work by that player.
Dundee-Crown guard Jack Buckley went with the former, while Chargers coach Lance Huber chose the latter.
“Everybody was boxing out and the ball came to me,” Buckley said. “I was in the right place at the right time, I guess.”
Buckley scored two points, but made his presence felt in other ways, particularly early as D-C built a big halftime lead and rolled to a 52-39 victory over Cary-Grove in its Fox Valley Conference Valley Division boys basketball game Friday night.
“I thought Jack Buckley was our player of the game,” Huber said. “He gave us tons of energy. He was fantastic. He got loose balls, he drew a charge, he was big on the glass. That’s kind of his game, but he hasn’t done it to that extreme. He’s not the most skilled player, but he gets the most out of every ounce he can.”
Buckley, at 5-foot-10 one of the shortest two players on the floor, grabbed a team-high seven rebounds, six in the first half. D-C (13-5 overall, 4-2 FVC Valley) led 27-10 at halftime behind 13 first-half points from Dylan Kissack, who tied teammate Brandon Rodriguez for game-high with 17.
“My teammates were getting me open for good shots,” Kissack said. “We tried to move the ball around against their [1-3-1] zone and find the openings. Jack [Buckley] was all over the place tonight with tremendous hustle. That’s one of the best games I’ve seen him play.”
Buckley again deferred to his teammates.
“I feel like, at the beginning of the game, there was a lot of energy and that helped me get going,” Buckley said. “I just try to get on the floor and rebound and do the little things.”
Kissack hit 6 of 9 field goals in the first half, then Rodriguez hit 4 of 7 and scored 12 in the second half. D-C played without point guard J.T. Beasley, who was sick. Beasley went through most of warmups, but sat down in the final few minutes before tip-off.
“He wasn’t feeling great,” Huber said. “We tried to get him ready to go.”
C-G (9-10, 1-5) hit only 4 of 23 field goals in the first half. Guard Jason Gregoire scored 14 points and had a game-high nine rebounds and the Trojans scored 29 points in the second half.
“We were getting decent shots, but they were nowhere close to going in,” C-G coach Ralph Schuetzle said.
“We weren’t strong with the ball in the lane. [D-C] is athletic, strong and aggressive. They have no size, but they’re pretty darn good. They flow offensively and have some guys who can play.”