By George M. Wilcox
Strong starts are becoming a habit for No. 2 Proviso East.The Pirates led by 16 points at the end of the first quarter and hammered host Schaumburg 78-39 Friday night at the Class 4A Schaumburg Sectional final. Top-seeded Proviso East (30-0) did it with defense and 6-foot-4 junior Sterling Brown (six rebounds), who scored 14 of his team-high 18 points in the first half. Keith Carter added 13 points for Proviso, which will play West Aurora (25-5) in the Hinsdale Central Supersectional at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.We played well. We like to jump out on teams, Brown said. We like to get out quick and dont want to give teams a chance to get back in the game.Browns eight points in the first quarter was twice as many as Schaumburgs entire team. Proviso scored 10 consecutive points to open a 12-3 lead and led 20-4 at the end of the first quarter.Thats been our M.O. all year is to get out fast, said first-year Pirates coach Donnie Boyce. Our effort was nice. I thought everyone was locked in tonight. Everyone stayed within the game.Kyle Bolger led No. 21 and third-seeded Schaumburg (24-6) with 20 points. The Saxons lost in a sectional final for the third consecutive time in coach Matt Walshs third year.Senior Christian Spandiary was limited to only six points and played his final game for the Mid-Suburban League West champion Saxons after a standout three-year varsity career.We didnt execute. We didnt play hard, Spandiary said. But Im proud of us. I dont care about the score. We tried our hardest. Thats all I care about.As the days go by, what weve done this year is going to be all-time point of pride, Walsh said.The Proviso defense held Schaumburg without a basket for over seven minutes in the first half and then another nine minutes midway through the game. The Saxons shot 1-of-5 from the floor in the first quarter, 3 of 12 in the first half.They turned the ball over the first couple of plays. We kind of knew we had them, the Saint Louis-bound Carter said.Proviso scored the first nine points Tuesday night in the sectional semifinal win over Lake Park and led 20-5 at the end of the first quarter in that game.The Pirates have won 30 games for the fourth time in school history and the first time since the 1992 team went undefeated. Proviso won its 14th sectional title, the first since 2006.This was probably our best game, said Boyce, a member of the 1991 state title team. I have pushed the guys hard this week. Obviously, they were not happy about that, but I like the end result.
By George M. Wilcox