Conants constant defensive pressure is designed to wear its opponent down over the course of a game.
On Saturday night against Wheeling, the strategy proved most effective. The visiting Cougars forced the Wildcats into several turnovers and countless contested shots in a 73-39 Mid-Suburban League divisional crossover victory.
I thought they did a really nice job hanging in there early on, Conant coach Tom McCormack said. I think Wheeling does a lot nice things. He (Wheeling coach Anthony Como) is definitely on the right track. It wasnt like they just went out there and rolled over. It took a while to get that accomplished. With the experienced guys that we have, that is what we expect.
Conant senior guard Joe Muska was part of the wave of substitutes that allow the Cougars to relentlessly pressure on defense.
I think it definitely wore them down, Muska said of Conants defense. We try to do that every game. We try to get up on the other team and get them on their heels a little bit.
McCormack said Conants defense led to successful offensive possessions. The Cougars (2-4) had a balanced scoring attack, with nine players scoring 5 or more points. Senior forward Robert Hudson was the games high scorer with 18 points. He did most of his damage in the paint.
Usually Im looking to play out on the perimeter, but I didnt know they were going to switch on defense, Hudson said. I remember playing them last year in our Thanksgiving tournament. We beat them, but we didnt take advantage of the post. As soon as I saw that defense, I knew I wasnt going to get perimeter shots. I knew I had to go down low and take advantage of the mismatch.
Junior guard Joey Ranallo scored 8 points for Conant, and senior guard Mark Monti had 7.
In a humble act to make sure teammates got into the game in the final minute, Muska purposefully stopped the clock by throwing the ball out of bounds. It was a prime example of Conants unselfish mentality.
Were really team-oriented here, Muska said. I was a junior on the bench last year, on the bench every game. And I was begging for up-by-30 minutes. So I knew what those guys were feeling down by the scorers table. So I said, Lets get play stopped. Lets get them in. Because I know last year if I was at that scorers table I was begging for the game to stop so I could get in.
Junior guard Chris Pierro (9 points) and senior guard Will Andersen (7 points) paced the Wildcats (2-4). Como said he was proud of his team for their hard work, and the effort with which they played Saturday.
Were at a stage where we want to move our program to become a winning program, Como said. I think (Conant coach) Tom (McCormack) does a fantastic job at that. When you look around the area at making a program a successful one, you try to emulate what Conants doing. Its exactly what I want my guys to see how hard they work and how hard they play on both ends.