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Harvest Christian's John Vislisel puts up a shot past Elgin Academy's Spencer Schael (20) on Monday. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
It was a matter of opportunity recognition for Harvest Christian and 6-foot-7 junior post player Jon Vislisel on Monday night in a home nonconference game against Elgin Academy.
The Lions jumped out to a quick lead but couldn’t pull away from the scrappy Hilltoppers until they recognized the opportunity against a zone defense with Vislisel inside. When they did, he scored 14 third-quarter points en route to 20 for the game to lead a 69-42 victory over Elgin Academy.
“I talked to that before the game, that we have got to use our high-low game and take advantage of our height, but in the first half we were forcing it and weren’t being patient,” Harvest Christian coach Jeff Boldog said. “We’re a young team and sometimes they don’t recognize that when you’re going against the zone it takes sometimes just that one extra pass for a guy to get open, but we rotated it in the second half and worked inside for easy buckets.”
The Hilltoppers trailed by 13 at one point in the first quarter and 20-9 starting the second quarter, but trailed 30-21 at halftime. Then Vislisel got started inside and teammates started getting it to him in scoring position.
He started the half with a three-point play, and after a three-pointer by Elgin Academy’s Vito Maglio, Vislisel got inside for two more easy hoops, one on an offensive board. When Kyle Fritz made a steal and layup the lead blew out to 39-24.
Vislisel made six buckets from in close in the quarter and had three of his seven rebounds then, too.
“He’s been consistent, averaging about 15 points,” Boldog said. “Jon and Suart Wolff have kind of been our steady Eddies and today we had some others hit shots. Kyle got some good looks and hit some, which gave him some confidence. But the best thing I was proud of was we really worked that offense in the second haf and made the extra pass.”
Wolff finished with 13 points, seven in the first quarter when the Lions (3-5) hit 9-of-16 shots for their 20-9 lead. Fritz had seven points then, as well, and scored 14 for the game.
“What really killed us was the rebounding,” Elgin Academy coach Dewayne Robinson said. “I think they only made about four or five real jump shots. They killed us on the boards and with second-chance points. We were giving up two or three offensive rebounds at a time.
“When the other team has two 6-6 or 6-7 guys like they do, you have to box them out or they’re going to score.”
Dan Turpin had five offensive rebounds and six points for the Lions and Wolff had four offensive boards. Vislisel had six of his 14 points in the third quarter after offensive rebounds.
Elgin Academy (2-4) got outrebounded 40-28. The Hilltoppers were led in scoring by Zach Bohenick with 15 points. He also had 10 rebounds.
“He’s got a nice 15-footer around the basket,” Robinson said of Bohenick. “The thing is we’ve got to get to a point where we’re running our offense consistently. Today we didn’t run our offense all the way through once the whole game.”
Armin Ward had nine points and Nate Johnson eight for Elgin Academy, which hit five three-pointers.