Wheaton Academy charges past IC
Basketball teams will conduct "charge" drills where a defensive player plants square in front of an oncoming offensive player.
This drill typically occurs in practice. In Tuesday's Wheaton Academy and IC Catholic Prep boys game it played out live. Officials called 10 charges and in an edgy third quarter the ball changed hands three straight times via offensive foul.
No pain, no gain is how Wheaton Academy saw its 54-38 nonconference win in Elmhurst.
"As a team we have a tendency to go up and try to block shots and swing," said the Warriors' Brandon Ruggles, who took 5 charges, grabbed 12 rebounds and scored 6 points. "But that's something that we've really worked on in practice and Coach (Paul) Ferguson's really had us drilling on that, just walling up, putting our hands straight up, taking charges. He calls them defensive dunks, charges, because he says it's a complete momentum changer."
This limited the drive-and-dish ability of IC's Demetrius Carr and Clark Brinkman. There were moments — a pair of Andy Muno chippies off assists by Carr and Rhashaun Epting, and another by Adam Muellers from Carr. But not enough moments.
"We're usually up in the 60s, high 50s, scoring-wise, and we didn't get anything going," said Knights coach T.J. Tyrrell. "I thought when we did it was from our inside game. We were settling for too many outside jump shots and it just got a little sloppy that way."
Besides the "defensive dunks," momentum changes included Josh Ruggles, Brandon's younger brother, hitting two 3-pointers to help Wheaton Academy (15-5) go from a 9-8 deficit after one quarter to a 20-11 lead midway through the second.
ICCP (16-5) trailed 24-14 at halftime then a Warriors press forced 10 third-quarter turnovers and they led 36-24 entering the fourth. ICCP starting guards Ross Fleming and Anthony Taylor out with a concussion and ineligibility, respectively, didn't help.
"Missing those two guards, it's a big difference," Muellers said. "Usually they're the ones bringing the ball up the court. Not having them was a huge loss tonight."
Carr and Epting cut the deficit to 8 twice. A Collin Roy layup, a Jake Cousins bank shot and a Gabe Partain putback sent it back to 48-34 with 1:49 left.
Epting's 11 points led ICCP. Josh Ruggles and Gordon Behr each scored 12 and Partain 10 for the Warriors.
"I was very pleased with our defensive effort, and any night you take 7 charges means you were really locked in defensively," Ferguson said.
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