SENECA — Dominant they were not, but the Seneca Fighting Irish made enough hay in even-numbered quarters to win 50-41 over Peotone Tuesday in Interstate Eight Conference boys basketball.
The still-unbeaten Irish were outscored 15-12 in the first quarter and 13-11 in the third, which made it a 40-36 game when the fourth quarter began. A 13-2 run to open the second quarter and a 10-2 run on which the Irish ended the game made the difference.
Seneca went 16-for-21 from the free-throw line on a night where the Blue Devils were 3-for-5. Fourteen fouls were called on the Irish to the 16 called on Peotone, but the Irish were in the act of shooting more often.
"They were physical, and it turned into a physical game," Irish guard Conlan Callahan said of the Blue Devils. "We forced some passes and took a couple of forced shots, but for the most part, I thought we did a good job of fighting through that physicalness."
Peotone got within a point of the Irish when Josh Vincent hit a three-pointer a minute into the fourth quarter. The Irish responded with four unanswered points, on two Peyton Schrag free throws and a Jimmy David driving layup, over the next 4:13. At that point, Brady White hit a jumper for what turned out to be Peotone's final points of the game.
About a minute later, Irish reserve forward Austin Applebee — in because starter Chris Lee was bleeding and being attended to on the bench — drew a foul while driving the baseline and scoring. Applebee, who had earlier received a quick hook from coach Russell Witte, completed the three-point play to make it 48-41 Irish with 1:11 to play before Lee reentered.
"Austin is the most talented player I've seen in terms of size, skill-set, athleticism ... who is still adjusting to the varsity level," Witte said. "At this level, you have to maintain your focus and energy the whole time you're out there. He's learning that. But he definitely redeemed himself on that play."
David finished with an Irish-high 14 points for the game, going 4-for-6 from the field and 6-for-7 from the field, and also led the team in steals with four. He said that, like the team, he had moments where he played better than others.
"In the first half, I did alright. The second quarter was pretty good," David said after totaling 10 points by halftime. "I'm not happy with the way I played after that. I'm not real happy with myself right now. ... I had a stupid foul and three turnovers and just didn't play the way I need to."
Lee and Schrag scored 10 points each for the Irish, and Callahan added seven. Peotone's Andrew Marganski led all scorers with 17 points.
"I thought this was a learning experience for us," Callahan said. "Every team is out to get every team right now in our conference. Everybody still thinks they can beat everybody. We went up against a tough, physical team tonight and got a win."