Warren junior Dominic Cuevas and his teammates who started Tuesday nights North Suburban Conference crossover boys basketball game on the bench were not about to let their opportunity for extended playing time slip away by letting up at Round Lake.
The Blue Devils reserves took the lead the starters gave them and ran away with it to a 90-34 victory as Cuevas and junior guard Eric Gillespie each scored a game-high 17 points.
You definitely want to sustain that because its fun for everybody to play as well, Cuevas said after hitting two of his four 3-pointers in a first quarter where Warren raced to a 33-12 lead. Everybody was trying to play as hard as they can.
Which the Blue Devils (11-8) did from start to finish even though the starters didnt play the final 2½ quarters in their third straight victory. Aarias Austin hit a pair of 3s and his 14 points in the first 4:41 and Adrian Deere scored 8 points in the opening 9:23.
Dre Von Hill scored 13 points on 6-for-7 shooting and James Betori added 7 points for the Blue Devils. They shot 59 percent from the field (36-for-61) and their 1-2-2 ball press helped turn 38 turnovers by Round Lake (3-15) into 40 points.
I think everybody who took the floor for us played with a purpose, said Warren coach Ryan Webber. They played not to let each other down. I thought they played their heart out.
Which was a significant change from a week earlier when Warren lost 53-50 to Lake Zurich.
We definitely have to come out and show up to every game, Cuevas said after making 6 of 9 shots from the field and missing only once behind the arc.
Its kind of been our track record that our success has been based on our intensity level and energy and effort, Webber said. Thats what weve tried to get back to since last Tuesday night when we didnt have any of that against Lake Zurich.
Were trying to have them take pride in their performance. Weve been preaching to them for a long time about playing to a standard where you dont believe in taking nights off in practice or games.
Its a similar message Round Lake coach Jim Roberts is preaching to his team which has freshmen James Mobley (8 points) and Michael Green and junior Karnell Wright (9 points) in the starting lineup. Senior Zack Pick scored all 10 of his points in the first half and had 9 rebounds.
Roberts said hes going to be promoting another freshman to the varsity this week as the Panthers were missing two starters in junior guard Rayshawn Bommon, who is out for a month with a torn ligament in his thumb, and senior Mark Jennings.
If youre going to compete and play with high-level basketball programs, and thats what Warren is, you have to understand how to be disciplined and stick to the principles and habits youve been taught and coached to do, Roberts said. The biggest thing is not enough of our guys have those positive habits to fall back on.
When things get tough we dont come together and when adversity hits our kids splinter. They havent learned to fight together.