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When Oswego gets its defensive pressure going the way it likes, it can cause severe problems for its opponents.
Following Saturday’s 75-52 nonconference win over Yorkville, Foxes coach Dan McGuire described it as feeling like you made two mistakes every time you made one mistake. The result was two crippling runs in the second and third quarters that gave Oswego the win.
Up by only a point in the second quarter, the Panthers ripped off a 21-6 spurt and forced 10 Yorkville turnovers in the quarter. Then, in the third quarter, Oswego put the hammer down with a 24-2 run that pushed the lead to 62-30 and cruised from there.
“We doubled them up in the middle 16 minutes, and we did it with defense,” Oswego coach Kevin Schnable said. “When we get it going at the defensive end and fly around and make things happen, we’re beating them to loose balls and long rebounds. That’s how all of a sudden we’re scoring in spurts. That all starts at the defensive end.”
Those two long runs and the final margin of 23 points helped mask a slow start for Oswego (22-2). Coming off a big, emotional win over rival Oswego East Friday, the Panthers were up only 16-15 early in the second quarter as Yorkville (10-12) hung around early on.
“We had a slow start today,” Oswego senior Elliott McGaughy said. “As a team, I don’t know if we were in it. We’ve come out with better starts than this game, and hopefully our next game we come out with a better start. We have to start thinking like a playoff team. During the playoffs, we won’t be able to start off like that.”
The initial spark came from sophomore Zach West off the bench. Up 16-15, West had a steal and layup and was fouled. He missed the free throw, but got the rebound and put it back in. He then had a steal off the inbounds pass and dished it to Miles Simelton for a layup to ignite that 21-6 run.
In the third, it was the vaunted duo of McGaughy and Simelton that put Yorkville away. The night after he became Oswego’s all-time leading scorer, McGaughy scored 11 of his game-high 19 points in the quarter, and Simelton scored eight of his 10 points in the third before the bench took over in the fourth. McGaughy added 10 rebounds in the win.
Yorkville had some nice bench contributions from Josh Bondurant (11 points) and Nick Firrantello (eight rebounds). Dakota Gette added 10 points for the Foxes.
“I was pleased with the way my guys accepted the challenge,” McGuire said. “They didn’t back down. We just made some errors in the second half. Anytime you do that against a team this good, you’re going to be in trouble.”