In Darien YMCA fourth grade boys basketball action, the Buckeyes scored a 31-30 win over the Illini on Saturday morning. The Buckeyes jumped out to a fast start and held off a furious comeback bid by the Illini.
The early action was all Buckeyes as guards Matthew Burke and Nolan Burke continued their season-long scoring leadership. Hudson Ely added important points for the Buckeyes as well. The Illini, a bit rusty from the holiday break, struggled to put points on the board and quickly fell behind 8-0. The Illini’s stingy defense, led by Michael Callahan with two quick steals, kept the Buckeyes from putting the game away early. The Buckeyes led 15-6 at the half. Harrison Stockdale hit two field goals and Logan Troeger added another for the Illini.
The second half was a different story. The Illini turned on the offense, led by Logan Troeger, who put up a season high 14 points. The Buckeyes turned to their forwards to protect the lead. Sydney Weibel and Ryan Plank helped the Buckeyes hold the lead with important efforts both offensively and defensively. The Illini narrowed the lead to 25-18 at the end of the third quarter. The charge was led by a strong offensive push by Brian Pope. Michael Dolcetti also continued his solid play for the Buckeyes.
In the final minutes the Buckeyes were able to do just enough to hold off the frantic Illini push. With just over four minutes to go, Harrison Stockdale knocked down another field goal to bring the Illini to within three points at 27-24. Troeger pulled in a nice offensive rebound and put it back up and in to bring the Illini with one point at 29-28, but Weibel answered with one of his own to make it 31-28 with just under two minutes to play.
Both teams turned to the full-court press, and Stockdale of the Illini connected for a 15-footer to shrink the Buckeyes lead to one point again at 31-30 with 28 seconds to go. The Illini forced a turnover and called a timeout with 12 seconds remaining. The Buckeyes countered with their full-court press and forced an Illini turnover which sealed the win for the undefeated Buckeyes.