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Boys basketball: St. Francis edges Aurora Central

Updated: January 6, 2013 10:05PM

St. Francis jumped out to an early lead against Aurora Central Catholic in Suburban Christian Blue play Saturday and led the rest of the game, but that didn’t prevent the Chargers from making a game out of it late.

The Spartans shot only 4-of-12 from the free throw line down the stretch and the Chargers wound up with the ball down only two points in the final seconds. But they were unable to get off a shot and St. Francis senior Tim Zettinger scooped up the loose ball to secure a 53-51 St. Francis win.

“We made the game closer than it was,” ACC coach Nate Drye said. “They beat us soundly. We lost that game in the opening quarter when we weren’t ready to play. We didn’t guard. We turned it over constantly. We dug a hole and they’re too well-coached to dig out of a hole like that.”

St. Francis (7-1 overall, 3-1 SCC Blue) raced to a 10-2 lead in the opening minutes, gaining some easy baskets along the way. That forced ACC (6-3, 2-2) to abandon its preference to full-court press and helped St. Francis maintain the lead the rest of the night.

“They were making us pay so badly in the first half that we couldn’t really press,” Drye said. “We didn’t have good energy at the start of the game, and without good energy, you can’t press. They were carving us up, so we had to get out of it.”

St. Francis senior Jason Pisarski drilled a pair of three-pointers to cap an 8-0 run and push the lead to 36-24 in the third quarter. Then Zettinger and Jason Sullivan ended the third quarter with three-pointers, their first points of the game, to seemingly put St. Francis in control, up 45-32 going into the fourth.

“We weren’t all that hot from three (6-of-17 as a team), but we found guys that did hit shots,” St. Francis coach Bob Ward said. “Sullivan hit a real big one.”

The Spartans had trouble closing the game out from the free-throw line, however. That coupled with ACC finally getting some shots to fall offensively kept the Chargers in the game. Three straight layups from Phil Schuetz capped a 13-3 run that cut the lead to 48-45 with 3:07 left.

All told, the Spartans went 4-of-12 from the line down the stretch, including missing the front end of two bonus situations.

“We shoot a lot of free throws in practice and we chart them, but sometimes they just don’t fail,” Pisarski said. “We fought through it. It was getting hectic, but we found a way to win.”

Pisarski led all scorers with 18 points for St. Francis. Kevin McShea added 16 points and Matt Bonner scored 10. Schuetz paced the Chargers with 14 points and Mike O’Donnell added 10 points off the bench.

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