Nnanna Egwu was a one man wrecking crew in a 53-31 win over Gordon (7-12,0-8) Friday night. The talented center from St. Ignatius showed why he is one of the state’s best players with 18 points, six rebounds and seven blocked shots.
“I knew that I had a big size advantage and I had to use my size and skills to really dominate,” said Egwu who will attend Illinois next season.
Egwu was dominating and entertaining especially in the first half scoring 12 points as the Wolfpack (16-7, 7-2) built a 26-8 lead.
“We’ve seen him for three years,” said Gordon head coach Shay Boyle. “I have nothing but respect for him (Egwu). I think he’s the best player in our league. I think he has the most upside of any player in the State of Illinois. He’s the whole package. He’s a great kid. He’s a good player. There’s nothing he can’t do out there. He can definitely be an NBA player.”
“I would put himup for Player of the Year in the Catholic League,” admitted St. Ignatius head coach Rich Kehoe.
Egwu, with help from teammates, was a factor on offense and defense. St Ignatius made 22-of-42 shots while Gordon committed 20 turnovers and made only 10-of-39 shots.
“I’m definitely confident (in my teammates),” said Egwu who was born in Nigeria. “Brian, Jack, Alejandro, and Tyrone are all great players. They play well together. It’s nice to know when teams are going to double team me I have capable guys who can shoot the ball and make plays.”
Gordon was led by Brandon Johnson who finished the game with 14 points.
St Ignatius jumped out to a 12-0 lead as the Rams missed six shots before Johnson scored on a jump shot with 2:57 left in the opening quarter.
“They run the best offense maybe in Chicago,” Boyle said after the loss that left the Rams winless in league play. “You can’t make a mistake against St. Ignatius. They will make you pay. They made us pay. I thought we could play a four quarter game with these guys. I thought it would be a competitive game. We make a few shots early, we have a ballgame.”
Gordon played better in the second half after scoring two baskets in the first half.
St Ignatius won the first meeting in December 69-35, and there was little drama in the rematch thanks to Egwu’s performance.
“It’s disappointing to be 0-8 (in league),” said Boyle who played at Weber. “Nobody in the state plays a better conference schedule than Gordon in our league. It’s the best conference in the state. Nobody has to play games like this every night. We will be successful in the state playoffs because we have played the best schedule.”
Gordon is hoping to win its third straight regional championship. The Rams will have probably have to beat Lake View and top-seeded North Chicago to earn a trip to the Ridgewood sectional in Norridge.
“They are one of the most explosive teams,” said Boyle on possibly facing the Warhawks in the regional finals. “