Elgin eases past Woodstock North

The Elgin boys basketball team faced the trap of an emotional letdown after Friday night's rousing come-from-behind victory over St. Charles North.

While the Maroons weren't at the top of their game, they had enough left in the tank to secure a comfortable 76-45 decision over Woodstock North Saturday in the opening round of the E.C. Nichols Holiday Classic at Marengo.

Elgin (7-4) opened the contest with a 12-point run, then after a brief lull, picked up the defensive pressure during an impressive 16-0 spurt to start the second quarter.

The Maroons led 45-24 at the half and extended the lead to 31 points just past the midway point of the third quarter.

“That's probably our best skill — putting pressure on the ball and getting into the passing lanes,” said Elgin coach Mike Sitter. “We did a so-so job of that today. We played at 7 p.m. (Friday) night, so I think our legs were still a little worn.”

“It was a really intense game (Friday) night and we were a little winded,” added Maroons junior guard Reggie Cole, who finished with 15 points. “At the end of the first quarter, coach got us refocused and we came back with a lot of energy.”

The Maroons displayed their outside shooting prowess as seven different players hit 3-pointers and the team connected on 10-of-23 shots from 3-point range.

“We had great ball movement and got a lot of shooters open,” Cole said. “It really spread out their defense too.”

“We're pretty deep with five or six kids that can really stroke it from the outside,” Sitter said. “Desmond Douglas does a great job setting them up and finding the open guy. Once we got rolling, we shot it pretty well.”

Lavion Baldwin went 7-for-8 from the field to finish with a team-high 16 points for Elgin while 6-foot-7 junior Courtese Cooper recorded a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

“Courtese is leaps and bounds better than he was last year,” Sitter said. “If he makes that same progression, he'll be a nice college player someday.”

Juniors Tim Wolf and Titus Ahrens both hit a pair of 3-pointers and combined for 16 points off the bench.

Vic Ortiz paced Woodstock North (0-7) with 17 points, including four 3-pointers and Colin Mergl added 11 points.

The No. 2 seed Maroons will face Rochelle Monday at 6 p.m. in a second round matchup.

“We just have to sustain ourselves and play at the same ability level and the same pace at all times,” Sitter said.

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