The key to team chemistry, like the school subject, is using the right formulas. St. Francis plugged in all the right components in its calculations Tuesday night with a 77-33 win over St. Edward in Elgin.
Brendan Yarusso was the key element for the Spartans’ Metro Suburban Conference victory. The senior reacted to the Green Wave’s defense by scoring 29 points, 22 coming in a decisive third quarter.
“It’s our team chemistry,” Yarusso said of the Spartans’ win. “We have been playing so long we know what everyone else is going to do.”
St. Francis (5-1, 2-0) held a comfortable 36-20 lead at the start of the second half. After opening the period with a layup, Yarusso reeled off five 3-point shots in a row in the first five minutes of the third quarter to put the game away. At the end of the streak, the Spartans held a commanding 57-31 lead. The senior finished the quarter with two more layups and a free throw.
Yarusso took a permanent seat on the bench with 1:15 left in the quarter. The quarter ended with St. Francis leading, 67-31
Yarusso gave most of the credit to his teammates.
“I got a little hot. Plus, my teammates had me in the right spots and they set great screens,” said the Lombard resident. “I’ve got to give the credit to them, tons of credit.”
The third quarter definitely did not play out the way the Green Wave had planned it at halftime.
“We came out with a goal to get within 10,” St. Edward assistant coach Adam Webb said. “I think 15 (Yarusso) probably had the game of his life. The third quarter got a little out of control.”
Webb filled in for head coach Andy Zielinski, who was attending a family event.
St. Edward (7-2, 0-1) struggled on the offensive end, making only 31% (12 of 37) of its shots while St. Franics shot 56% (31 of 55). The Green Wave connected on only three shots in the first quarter and trailed 21-8 after the first eight minutes. The teams played a more even second period with St. Edward scoring 12 points to St. Francis’ 15,
“We couldn’t start our offense where we wanted so the result is what you saw,” Webb said.
The Spartans also controlled the glass, outrebounding the Green Wave, 32-19.
“I think that’s a good team we played, no doubt about it,” Webb said. “They are well coached and have good ballplayers up and down the roster.”
Sebastian Miller and TJ McMillen both scored 11 points for the Spartans.
Robert Wilson led the Green Wave with 11 points. Teammate Kaden Dawson tallied 10.