CARPENTERSVILLE – McHenry guard Cody Freund figures he has been in foul trouble nearly every game this season, but Friday's Fox Valley Conference Valley Division game against Dundee-Crown was different.
Freund and his Warriors teammates didn't have to worry about foul trouble, as they picked up only four the entire game. The smart defense helped McHenry take down the host Chargers, 51-37.
"I would say that was the exact opposite of how we usually play," said Freund, who finished with a game-high 17 points. "We have always been taught to play tight defense until the rule changes this season changed all that."
The Warriors (9-8 overall, 2-3 FVC Valley) poured over scouting reports on the Chargers during the week and wanted to take away their ability to drive the lane and get to the basket with their athletic guards.
The result was a hands-off style of defense that gave the illusion of space to drive before the Warriors quickly rotated and closed the lane, forcing the Chargers into unwanted jump shots.
"Tonight we did a great job of scouting report defense," McHenry coach Tim Paddock said. "[The Chargers] have a lot of guys good off the bounce, and they will break you down and get to the rim, and our goal tonight was make them shoot over the top of us."
The Chargers (4-12, 0-5), although aggressive to the basket, like to take their time setting up the ideal look. Many of their possessions Friday were long and deliberate, sometimes taking 40 seconds or more off the clock. Paddock saw this on tape and made sure his players knew to stay committed on defense and work through the long possessions.
The Warriors' defense was sound throughout the game and despite the long possessions forced 10 D-C turnovers. The Warriors also did a good job of allowing the Chargers only three free-throw attempts. The first McHenry foul came with 57.8 seconds left in the third when Kyle Postal was called for a block on Kiwaun Seals.
"Sometimes you can get a little tired during those long possessions," Paddock said, "but we kept guarding and staying off."
Seals came off the bench for the Chargers and added a legitimate scoring threat. The junior finished with 16 points on seven baskets and 2-of-3 shooting from the free-throw line. He helped the Chargers pull within 23-19 near the end of the first half with six straight points. D-C a had a chance to pull within two, but a costly turnover and ensuing McHenry layup put the Warriors up 25-19.
"I really thought that the play right before half was a killer," Chargers coach Lance Huber said. "We had a chance to cut it to two, and they came out and took it right to us in the third quarter."
McHenry outscored D-C in the third, 13-3.
"I thought our guys played hard, but we have to play a little smarter as well," Huber said. "Sometimes you're the windshield, and sometimes you're the bug."