Comets off to strong start, win three of first four

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 28, 2008


Soprts Editor

A St. Charles rally fell just short on Tuesday as Pope John Paul handed the Comets their first loss of the season, 67-63 at the Fisher tournament.

St. Charles (3-1) erased a 19-point Jaguar lead to go ahead by one entering the fourth quarter. But a series of turnovers — the Comets turned it over 20 times on the night — and missed opportunities let PJP retake the lead for good in the final period.

“It was a back and forth kind of game,” said St. Charles Coach Chris Perrone, in his first year with the team after taking over from Jonathan Hernandez. “They went to a zone press and man press. It wasn’t for the entire quarter, maybe four or five possessions. But it caused some problems and we turned it over.”

With 1:45 left in the game and Pope John Paul II leading by two, the Jaguars came up with a steal.

“They didn’t score off of it, but it was critical turnover with that amount of time left, “ said Perrone.

DeMarcus Bernard scored 25 points to lead St. Charles. Birch Matus scored 11. Victor Gordon added seven.

In contrast, St. Charles cut through the first two rounds of the tournament at a blistering pace.

SCC defeated host Fisher in the second round, 60-22. Gabe Corchiani led all scorers with 15. Bernard scored 11. Gordon scored seven.

Before that, the Comets made quick work of Lusher in the first round, 55-27. Three Comets — Bernard, Matus, and Corchiani — scored in double figures to lead a balanced attack.

Perrone said a key to the Comets early success has been its ability to create turnovers and play solid defense — notably, defense without fouling.

“We keep the clock running. Teams haven’t been getting to the foul line against us,” Perrone said.

Before the tournament, the Comets opened their season last Tuesday against host Ascension Catholic, holding on for a 64-60 victory on the road.

Bernard scored 18. Matus added 12. Corchiani and John Williams each scored six.

“We hadn’t had a scrimmage or a jamboree, so this was our first real test of any kind,” Perrone said. “I’m glad we were able to pull it out.”

SCC led by eight with two minutes left, and were able to keep the Bulldogs two possessions away for the remainder of play.

Even when Ascension Catholic made a push, Perrone said his team’s mental approach didn’t change.

“These guys have a short memory,” he said. “They don’t sulk after a bad play or a turnover. They just look to get it back, to make something positive happen. They aren’t looking behind, or ahead, but just on the next possession as a chance to prove themselves.”