ELMHURST – IC Catholic sophomore Rhashaun Epting and Timothy Christian senior Connor VanderBrug carry a big load for each team.
The two put on a matching show in Saturday’s crosstown Coaches vs. Cancer game at IC Catholic, but Epting hit the bigger shots to help his team win, 58-49.
Epting drained three straight 3-pointers during a stretch in the third quarter to hold off a Trojan rally and finished with 20 points. The 6-foot-3 forward played more of a perimeter game because he is still recovering from a strained hamstring, but still put in big numbers.
“Any time you play another team in Elmhurst [it’s a big game],” Epting said. “They beat us last year so we just had to get revenge.”
VanderBrug scored 23 points, but picked up his third foul with 1:58 left in the second quarter and sat out the rest of the half. The Knights took advantage with a 6-0 run to close the half up 26-22, a lead they would not relinquish.
“He caught a couple [fouls] and it got him out of rhythm a little bit,” TC coach Jack LeGrand said. “We didn’t execute, either. IC did a really nice job and they’re a very good basketball team. With our big guy sitting on the bench, we’re not going to get it done. We didn’t handle that as well as I’d hoped.”
IC (15-3) led 43-37 entering the fourth quarter, but the Trojans (10-6) started the quarter on a 6-2 run with all six points coming from VanderBrug. The Knights scored the next six points and kept the Trojans at bay the rest of the game.
Epting has taken on a bigger role with the team this year. Despite being an all-conference player as a freshman, Epting was not the focal point of the offense as he is now.
“Last year we had Demetrius Carr who was a go-to guy and Rhashaun was a freshman learning from him and battling with him everyday,” IC coach T.J. Tyrrell said. “This year we needed a guy to step up, and he’s been the one who’s done that.”
As for the Trojans, they are hoping they can replace Khali Valrie, who will miss the rest of the season after being ruled ineligible. Saturday’s game was the Trojans’ first game without their second-leading scorer.
VanderBrug will remain a key part of the team that is second in the Metro Suburban Conference and faces third place Glenbard South tonight, but other players will also have to step up to replace Valrie, who was starting at point guard.
“Joe Bishop, a junior, and sophomore Ben Lodewyk will handle a lot of the ballhandling responsibilities as well as Connor,” LeGrand said. “We’re trying to regroup, trying to fit some pieces and go from there.
“I don’t think we’ll surprise anybody the second round [of conference games], so we’ll have to be on top of our game.”
IC Catholic 52, Timothy Christian 23
The Lady Knights kicked off Saturday’s doubleheader with a big win against the Trojans. Rory Manion was IC’s only double-digit scorer with 10 points, but nine different players scored for IC.