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Elgin's Tanner Bednar (23) grabs a defensive rebound during the fourth quarter of their game at Huntley H.S. Saturday. December 22, 2012. The Maroons won the game 60-55. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
With Elgin needing offensive output Saturday from someone besides leading scorer Arie Williams, senior post player Eric Sedlack stepped up and provided.
Yet Sedlack didn’t forget to do what he’s done most of the season when it counted most, and that’s play defense. His tipped pass with five seconds left led to a turnover and two free throws that sealed a 60-55 nonconference victory for Elgin over Huntley.
“We’ve got to find some scoring other than Arie, and Eric Sedlack gave us a huge, huge game today,” Elgin coach Mike Sitter said. “It was nice to see him break through.
“He’s got all the physical tools He’s athletic. His arms are long. He’s strong. I got to watch him get his butt kicked by Kory Brown for the entire year last year (in practice) and I expect the same things Kory gave us last year from him this year.”
Sedlack scored a career-high 19 points and hauled in six rebounds. His normal role had been rebounding and defense and he played that to perfection in the final seconds with Huntley looking for a tying three-pointer. A pass came to the middle and Sedlack leaped and knocked it away to Williams, who was fouled and sealed the win with two free throws for the last of his game-high 22 points.
“I was in the middle of the lane and saw out of the corner of my eye one of their guys coming to the rim so I saw the pass coming and just tried to get a hand on it,” Sedlack said.
Sedlack had 15 of his points in the first half, including 11 in the first quarter to help stake Elgin to a lead that hit 14 points before the Maroons went in at halftime up 32-25.
“Tonight I thought I was a little more aggressive attacking the rim mostly, and was hitting my open shots.”
Sitter said he was happy Sedlack didn’t “disappear” in the second half on offense when Williams took over for 18 of his 22 points. Sedlack had just two fourth-quarter points, but they were huge.
A three-point barrage had brought Huntley back into the game and the Red Raiders trailed 53-52 with 2:43 remaining when Williams missed a jumper. Elgin’s 5-foot-11 senior wing Tanner Bednar fought his way in amongst the trees for the offensive rebound and the Maroons (6-6) called timeout. Then Sedlack was fouled and hit both free throws for a 55-52 lead.
Elgin never led by less that three again, but after Williams and Ryan Mills exchanged three-pointers Huntley got a steal and a chance for the tying three-pointer. T.J. Adams missed, but Williams missed a one-and-one. However, Sedlack delivered his deflected pass to seal a win that broke Elgin’s three-game losing streak.
“We’ve been on a three-game skid and we’ve been carried by Arie,” said Bednar, who contributed a career-high 11 points as well. “If we can take it up a notch and get pressure off Arie and get some scoring from other players, seniors, I think it’s a key to success.”
Huntley (4-4) lost for the third straight time and hit just 6 of 15 from the field in the fourth quarter after making 12 of 21 in the second and third quarters to get back into the game.
“We haven’t shot the ball well this year and it’s been our Achilles’ Heel but we know we’ve got good shooters and tonight the law of averages were catching up with us for a while,” Huntley coach Marty Manning said.
Bryce Only led Huntley with 12 points while Logan Beckman had 11 and Jake Wagner 10. The Red Raiders played one of their last games without star 6-7 junior center Amanze Egekeze, who had a knee scoped. He is expected to return Jan. 7.
“Obviously a lot of things this season would be different if we had one of the best players in the area on our team, but we’re just trying to do what we can with guys we have in the lineup,” said Manning. “We made some steps in the right direction tonight.”