GLEN ELLYN – Frank Toohey and his York basketball teammates didn’t play their best game of the season Feb. 7.
Which might make the Dukes’ 51-38 win over West Suburban Silver rival Glenbard West even more impressive. York (22-2 overall, 9-0 WSS) didn’t convert a basket in the second quarter, had leading scorer Toohey sit out for a sizable stretch in the third quarter, and saw West creep to within five points in the fourth, yet still pulled away for a comfortable win on the road that kept its Silver championship hopes alive.
“It feels good,” Toohey said. “We’re feeling good [about this win], but we still have a lot to work on. We have some big games coming up, but we’re excited and we’re definitely confident.”
Friday’s victory kept the Dukes in the driver’s seat in the Silver, but their next two conference games are perhaps the biggest of the season. After playing Downers Grove North on senior night tomorrow at 7:30 p.m., they hit the road to face Hinsdale Central, which currently sits one game back in the WSS standings, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
If the Dukes avoid a slip-up against DGN, the game against Central could be the de facto conference championship game. York hasn’t won a conference title since 2006.
“We all know how good our league is,” York head coach Vince Doran said. “If you don’t come to play, you’re going to get beat, and that’s been proven time and time again. We’ve won a few close ones and I feel like every game is a big game, but we try to take it one step at a time.”
Central will need to navigate road games at Proviso West and Lyons Township this weekend to stay in contention for the title. York ground out a 34-30 win over Central in a defensive battle earlier in the season. If the Dukes have it their way, defense will play a part in the rematch.
“It definitely comes down to defense with us,” Toohey said. “Defense is definitely our cornerstone, what we take pride in, and as long as you play defense you’re going to be in every game no matter how many points you score.”
Defense was the key to keeping West at bay. Leading 11-8 after a quarter, the Dukes didn’t make a basket in the second quarter but they extended their edge to 24-18 at halftime thanks to stifling defense and 8-of-10 free throw shooting.
When Toohey went to the bench with his third foul with 4:09 to go in the third, York’s 30-24 advantage swelled to 38-27 in his absence. And after West cut the lead to 40-35 with 3:22 left in the game, York went 11-of-12 at the foul line down the stretch to seal the win and stay a leg up in the tight conference race.Toohey led all scorers with 18 points. Stanley Roberts had eight for the Dukes while Charlie Rose and Jayvon Thomas scored seven each.
“This is a tough conference.” Toohey said. “Every road game, it’s always hard to go into anyone’s house and win. We just gutted it out.”
York 51, Glenbard West 38
Three keys to victory
1. Free throw shooting: For the game, York was 23-of-30 at the free throw line compared to 4-of-8 for Glenbard West.
2. Scoring without Toohey: When Frank Toohey went to the bench with his third foul, the Dukes went on an 8-3 run. Jayvon Thomas scored four points, Charlie Rose hit a 3-pointer, and Jack Heinle sank a free throw.
3. Limiting Davis: York held West leading scorer Corey Davis to just two points in the game and drew two charges against him as Davis eventually fouled out early in the fourth.