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Early in the season, Oswego East’s boys basketball team suffered some rough losses.
But in Saturday’s 62-58 upset win over Wheaton Academy at the Naperville North Shootout, the lessons gained from those tough setbacks shone through.
The Wolves fell behind by two points with 4:04 left in the fourth quarter, but responded with a 10-2 run to take control of the game and hold off the Warriors for the win.
“We took a couple on the chin early,” Oswego East coach Ron Murphy said. “If you let those help you, if you get better as a result of playing them, they’re worth playing. That’s why playing good teams matters when you get in close games in the second half of the season.”
Wheaton Academy (12-4) took a 51-49 lead with 4:04 left on a pair of Gabe Partain free throws. But Oswego East junior guard Mike McAllister came alive to rescue the Wolves. Still getting acclimated to a new team after transferring from East Aurora, McAllister guided the Wolves through the key part of the game.
He had four steals in the quarter on the defensive end, and then scored five key points, giving the Wolves the lead twice down the stretch. His lay-up off a steal gave the Wolves the lead for good at 52-51 with 3:05 left.
“In addition to the defense, Mike controlled the game a little bit,” Murphy said. “This guy too, Tyler (Ross). There were times where both of them could have taken a mediocre shot and they pulled the ball out, held onto it, and as a result we ended up on the free throw line. I thought we played with more composure at the end today. That’s a product of playing the good teams that we have and being in close games.”
Early on, it looked like Wheaton Academy was going to run away with it. The Warriors were scorching from the field in the first quarter, hitting five three-pointers to lead by as many as eight.
“I took that timeout in the first quarter and I was like, all right, they’ve got 11, they’re 3-for-3 from the arc, they’re going to score 90 if we don’t defend,” Murphy said. “Fortunately, they did.”
The key stretch that got Oswego East (5-10) back into the game started in the second quarter and spilled into the third. Wheaton Academy was up 36-30, but the Wolves scored the final five points of the first half and the first eight of the third quarter to take a 43-36 lead. Wheaton Academy led only once more the rest of the game.
Wheaton Academy was led by 6-foot-8 junior Gordon Behr’s 19 points and seven rebounds. Collin Roy added 13 points and Brandon Ruggles scored 11.
CJ Vaughan led the Wolves with a game-high 22 points. Kendall Dorsey added 12 points.
“Wins like this really boost our confidence,” Vaughan said. “Now we’re on a roll, so we’re just trying to keep it going.”