Second half streak pushes SCC over RA
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 2, 2008
By RYAN ARENA
Things began slowing down for St. Charles’ DeMarcus Bernard in the second half on Saturday. And that sent the Comets offense racing.
SCC’s senior point guard led a powerful second half push as the Comets defeated rival Riverside 54-38 in a non-district contest at Reserve Christian.
St. Charles (4-1) led 8-4 after a quarter and 16-11 at halftime before going on a 14-4 run to begin the third quarter and seize permanent control of the game from the Rebels (0-4).
Key to the run was Bernard, who repeatedly was able to get into the lane, scoring or finding the open man.
“At halftime, coach told me I had to let the game come to me,” Bernard said. “So I did that, and was able to find my teammates. They knocked down the shots.”
Said St. Charles Coach Chris Perrone: “He stepped it up big in the second half. He started seeing things that he wasn’t before, and he was finding guys for easy buckets.”
Birch Matus knocked down more shots than anyone on Saturday, leading the Comets with 17 points. Matus and the Comet frontcourt controlled the backboards and converted a number of second chance opportunities.
“Everybody knocked down their shots and played great defense,” Matus said. “We passed it around well and got good looks.”
The junior forward says he’s much more comfortable in his second season playing major minutes.
“Last year was my first time really playing,” Matus said. Now I’ve got that experience under my belt, and hopefully I’m ready to explode.”
John Williams scored nine for St. Charles. Bernard scored eight.
Josh Tassin led Riverside with 17 points, including two 3-pointers. Bobby Smith chipped in eight.
St. Charles scored the first eight points of the game, but two Tassin buckets near the end of the opening quarter cut the lead in half.
Tassin opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer, and a Kane Keller layup gave Riverside its first lead of the game. Matus and Smith traded baskets to leave the Rebels with an 11-10 lead. But the Comets finished the first half on a 6-0 run kicked off by a Victor Gordon basket to make it 16-11 at halftime.
That lead grew to 22-11 after SCC scored the first three baskets in the second half, including scores by Taylor Peytavia and Kylund Edwards. The lead grew to 29-15 after a Matus put back on a Bernard miss, then to 30-15 after a Matus foul shot.
SCC led 32-19 when John Williams scored the next three baskets for the Comets, pushing the lead to 38-21. Keller, Tassin and Smith combined offensively to keep the Rebels afloat in the fourth quarter, and a Smith steal and layup with 3:37 left in the game cut the lead to nine, 42-33.
But Williams and Matus combined to score the next nine points of the game, effectively slamming the door on a Rebel comeback attempt.
“They were looking to extend us out, so we started working the middle more,” said Perrone. “We played a little better defensively, and we did a really good job passing the ball. This is a very unselfish team.”