East Troy High School’s Quinten Lotting (No. 24) fends off a Turner guard in an attempt to score during the Jan. 10 game at home. (Eric Kramer photo)

Coach says team needs to step it up

By Dan Truttschel

Correspondent

The good news for the East Troy High School boys basketball team last week was it picked up two more Rock Valley Conference victories.

But for coach Darryl Rayfield, the defensive effort in one of those wasn’t nearly good enough if the Trojans hope to take things up a notch.

And that will continue to be the focus.

East Troy opened play with a 64-50 win Jan. 8 over visiting Beloit Turner, followed by a 96-65 victory Friday night at Brodhead-Juda to improve to 10-1 overall and 8-0 in the RVC.

The victories put the Trojans two games ahead of the pack heading into play this week. Evansville and Jefferson are tied for second at 7-2, followed by Turner at 6-3.

East Troy led Brodhead, 55-32, at halftime and was never in danger – but Rayfield wasn’t pleased with the defensive execution.

“We didn’t play very good defense, that’s for sure,” he said. “We were just way better than they were. I don’t think we did anything great. A lot of kids got to play.”

A.J. Vukovich, who is eighth in the state in scoring at 27.2 points a game, led the way with 29, followed by Michael Polakoski with 23, Chase Cummings with 12 and Alex Gilson-Calderon with 10.

East Troy played the game without Quinten Lottig, who injured his ankle in practice Thursday. Rayfield said he’s uncertain when Lottig will return to the lineup.

“We really miss him when he’s not playing,” Rayfield said. “He has a high basketball IQ. He makes shots, he’s getting better defensively and his mindset is better.”

Polakoski returned after he had been sick and played a solid game, Rayfield said.

“He was really active,” Rayfield said. “I thought he had a really nice game. He was just really aggressive.”

Rayfield also was pleased with the efforts of Cummings, along with Michael Rosin and Eli Hart on the defensive end of the court.

East Troy also received a contribution from Gilson-Calderon, a 6-foot-4 junior who could provide some help off the bench moving forward.

“He has some talent,” Rayfield said. “He has good hands. He’s a bigger body. … He had a nice game. He can shoot the basketball. As long as he continues to understand how hard you have to play when games are on the line, it will be good.”

East Troy travels to Big Foot on Tuesday, Jan. 22. Both RVC contests tip off at 7:15 p.m.

The two-game lead on the rest of the conference is important at this point of the season, Rayfield said.

“What it does for us is gives us a little bit of room if we should stub our toe at some point,” he said.

Trojans roll to win

East Troy jumped out to a 34-24 first-half lead over Turner to start the week and never looked back in the 14-point victory. The Trojans built their lead to as many as 19 points in the second half.

The game had a playoff-type atmosphere, Rayfield said.

“We played really good defense,” he said.”I thought Michael Rosin and Quinten Lottig shut their two leading scorers down. One had 12 (points), one had three. Those two guys defended really well. I thought that was the key to the game.”

Vukovich led the way with 20 points, followed by Lottig with 14 and Polakoski with 12.

 
 

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