Center(s) of Attention: Elgin Drops Schaumburg

Article excerpt

Byline: Patricia Babcock Daily Herald Sports Writer

Now this was a different look.

There was center Brent Gooden, Elgin's second leading scorer, on the bench leading the cheers.

And there was reserve center Jim Ebert making the plays that demanded those cheers.

Against Schaumburg Friday night, the two did a major role reversal. Yet Elgin hardly missed a beat.

With Gooden sidelined with foul trouble, Ebert stepped in and logged some quality minutes - scoring points, grabbing rebounds and bellying up on defense - to help the Maroons cruise to a 58-43 regional final victory.

With the win, Elgin improves to 27-1 on the year and advances to Tuesday's sectional semifinal at Hersey. The Maroons will take on Hoffman Estates, which beat Barrington 58-52.

"Jim played like Brent tonight and that's what we needed," said Elgin coach Jim Harrington. "He rose to the occasion. He was in the flow of the game and he did a lot of good things. I'm confident that if he continues to play like that, we're going to be in really good shape."

With Elgin clinging to a 29-25 halftime lead, Ebert subbed in for Gooden, who got his fourth foul at the 5:07 mark of the third quarter, and went to work. He made a steal, grabbed a couple of rebounds and scored a layup to help Elgin end the period outscoring Schaumburg 12-2 for a 40-27 lead.

"I think Ebert pretty much won the game for us," said Gooden, who finished with just 7 points in limited action. "He had some points, some steals. I think that was probably the best game of his career."

"I was real happy with my play," said Ebert, who finished with 6 points. "Brent usually doesn't get into foul trouble all that often. So I was glad I could come in and (contribute) like that in our last home game. I got some easy layups in the second half."

The buckets weren't coming quite so easily in the first half.

The Saxons stuck to their men like glue, forcing up some bad shots and creating turnovers. …