With such a young squad, Oswego has been hovering around the .500 mark all season.
But as the calendar flipped to February, coach Kevin Schnable saw his young squad making some strides.
After avenging an earlier loss to Plainfield Central Friday, the Panthers put together perhaps their most complete win Tuesday in Southwest Prairie Conference play, a dominant 76-47 victory over Romeoville.
“I feel like we’re getting better,” Schnable said. “I sense it. We’re coming together at the right time. Guys are having more fun. It was the first game all season, believe it or not, that we had more assists than turnovers. On a daily basis we emphasize team ball, and we also emphasize ball control, and we were able to do both tonight. That’s what it’s all about, getting better.”
The Panthers (9-10 overall, 5-4 SPC) wasted little time getting things going, as a Zach West lay-up off of a steal, a West three-pointer and a Javon Jones three-pointer sparked a 14-3 opening rally to start the game. When the lead was cut to 20-13 early in the second quarter, the Panthers answered with a 14-4 run to help take a 34-19 lead at the half.
A 17-2 run that took up most of the third quarter and started the fourth pushed the lead to an insurmountable 59-26 before Schnable was able to empty the bench and let everybody on the roster get some run.
“It’s really good, especially coming off a pretty good win last Friday,” West said. “Coming off of that gave us a little boost, a good step forward, which led to this. Going out and playing how we did will be a big confidence boost for Oswego East Friday.”
West led all scorers with 20 points for Oswego. Brice Robinson added 10 points off the bench. Damon Harrison scored nine points, all in the fourth quarter, to lead Romeoville.
Oswego now hopes to roll the momentum of the last two games into Friday’s road showdown against rival Oswego East.
“Our coaches harped on that all week,” West said of not looking past Romeoville. “Yeah, Oswego East is going to be really fun and exciting, but we’ve got to keep our minds focused on the task at hand, which is Romeoville tonight.”
The Panthers are hoping that a win Friday will get them to .500 on the season and help them get on a roll before the postseason.
“Having a young team, everything is going to start clicking at the end of the season, which is where you want to be,” West said. “You want to peak going into the playoffs.”