St. Charles East junior guard Dom Adduci started Saturday’s game against Batavia swishing long 3-pointers, making off-balance leaners and causing trouble for the Bulldogs’ ballhandlers.
In other words, like most any Dom Adduci game.
Except this night was a little extra special at St. Charles East, not just for Adduci but players on both sides of the Tri-Cities rivalry.
St. Charles East hosted its first Hoops for Hope, an event to raise money for the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research.
Every player on both teams was introduced before the game with the player listing who he would be playing the game in memory and in honor of.
Adduci named his mother Jill, diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. Jill Adduci was the chairwoman for the night which included numerous raffle items, a Jimmy V video presentation, the coaching staffs wearing sneakers, and at the end of the game players, cheerleaders and fans holding up a shoe in honor of cancer survivors.
Dom Adduci got the Saints going early with 10 points in the first quarter. St. Charles East led 16-7 after the quarter and used a 14-0 run in the third quarter to turn the game into a blowout, winning 57-28 at a nearly packed St. Charles East gym.
“It was really, really special,” Dom Adduci said. “It was her (his mom’s) idea to come up with this whole thing. I felt like I was playing for her and everything I did was for her so it was really special to me.
“(His mom was) constantly talking about it, getting everyone involved, cheerleaders, all the sponsors, I give all the credit to her. It was amazing how hard she worked. It definitely came all together and it was great. I was proud to play in honor of her.”
Adduci finished with 20 points including four 3-pointers for St. Charles East (15-8, 8-3).
“I was fired up early. All the adrenaline was going but I tried to stay levelheaded and think of just playing basketball and not try to do anything outside my ability, and I was just glad I could play for all the people who had cancer.”
Sporting a pair of bright orange sneakers, Saints coach Patrick Woods certainly was impressed with the night and hopes to continue the fundraiser in future years.
“We always talk as a teammate being selfless and giving up yourself and tonight we tried to make it a cause bigger than that, something that goes outside of basketball,” Woods said. “It was a great night. I thought we had great support from the fans, our parents did a great job coordinating all that.”
Batavia (10-13, 4-7) made just 10 of 36 shots (27.8 percent) from the field and 5 of 11 at the line. Even more problematic were all the turnovers, 20 in the game and 8 in the first quarter.
Those mistakes helped Adduci, sophomore Cole Gentry (9 points, 3 steals) and company get out and run. Micah Coffey’s 3-point basket to start the game turned out to be it as far as Bulldog leads as drives from Ethan Griffiths and Gentry quickly put the Saints ahead to stay.
Adduci’s back-to-back 3s made it 12-3 and forced a Batavia timeout. The first 3 came after a steal from AJ Washington who found Gentry who used a flashy behind-the-back dribble to free himself and find Adduci.
“Me and him (Gentry) complement each other,” Adduci said. “When one drives the other spots up for 3. Me and him have really good chemistry too. It’s awesome. When he came up I didn’t know what to expect but he definitely proved himself and is a really fun guy to play with.”
If that sequence didn’t have the Saints crowd jumping Adduci and Washington provided another highlight moments later when they connected on an alley-oop dunk.
“That’s a set play we have,” Woods said. “We had a great crowd tonight. We wanted to give them something to cheer about and utilize AJ’s ability. It makes it easier when teams start keying on Dom and Cole and Jake (Asquini) it opens up the back side for an alley-oop. Just makes us more dangerous.”
Leading 23-15 at halftime, the Saints broke the game open in the third with 14 straight points to go up 37-17. The run had a little of everything — second-chance baskets from Asquini (following his own missed 3-pointer) and Ben Skoog’s tip-in, another steal from Gentry and layup, and consecutive 3s from Asquini and Adduci.
Gentry’s 3 to close the third quarter put the Saints up 42-22, and both coaches cleared their benches for about the final five minutes of the game.
“After that loss to (St. Charles) North (on Feb. 2) we were hungry,” Adduci said. “We came out and proved ourselves again. We’re clicking on all cylinders right now. Teams had better watch out for us in regionals. Our confidence is at an all-time high right now.”
Coffey scored 10 points to lead Batavia who didn’t score more than 8 points in any quarter.
“St. Charles East really played well tonight,” Batavia coach Jim Nazos said. “Give credit where credit is due. I thought they did a good job disrupting us offensively. They took care of the ball, they found their shooters, St. Charles East did a lot of things well.
“We’ve got somethings we have to work on and get better at. There’s a lot of guys who would say I could have done better including me.”
The Saints, who also won the rebounding battle 33-18 led by Washington’s 9, completed a 2-0 weekend and have now won 5 of 6.
“I think a lot of people thought once we lost Kendall (Stephens) we wouldn’t be competitive or we would struggle more,” Woods said. “I think we went through a small part of that but we’re finding our groove now. We always talk about peaking at the right time. We still have our best basketball ahead of us.”
Follow John Lemon on Twitter @jlemonDHCopyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.