From now on, the record books will show Rick Schoon earned 400 wins as a high school basketball coach.
But don’t read too much into it, the veteran leader of the St. Anne boys team insists. The mighty accomplishment belongs to a whole lot more people than just one.
“I’ve coached a lot of great kids, including this group,” Schoon said after the current Cardinals club earned an 86-64 win against Dwight in the opening round of the Sangamon Valley Conference Tournament at Onarga Middle School on Tuesday. The win was the 400th of his coaching career, which has spanned 21 seasons, all at St. Anne.
“I’ve also been surrounded by a lot of great coaches,” Schoon continued. “That includes Todd [Sirois], who has been with me from the start, and all the others who came on later,” Schoon added. “I have been blessed.”
Among those who have helped Schoon along the way is his own son, Brooks, the Cardinals’ standout senior. He started attending team practices as a young boy and grew up around the program. Young Schoon said his father’s accomplishment is shared by many, even those not directly involved with the team.
“This is about the whole St. Anne Community, and that includes St. Anne Grade School and Lorenzo Smith School in Hopkins Park,” he said. “We’re a Cardinal family.”
There was not a lot of suspense involved in the milestone win. St. Anne displayed a hot shooting touch from the outset and led 18-6 just five minutes into the game. Dwight was able to cut the lead to single digits several times into the third quarter, but as soon as the Trojans drew close, St. Anne struck again to regain a comfortable cushion.
Turnovers were a problem for Dwight from start to finish, as the Cardinals’ defense forced 28 overall.
“It seemed like 30,” Dwight coach Jeremy Connor said. “They gave us a lot of pressure, and we didn’t handle it well.”
Dwight struggled at times on offense, but St. Anne had no such issues. The Cards, a member of the River Valley Conference who joined the SVC’s seven schools for the tournament, scored 18 points or more in every quarter and 48 total in the second half.
The most impressive statistic for St. Anne was its shooting percentage. The Cardinals made 35 of their 52 field-goal attempts, good for a sparkling 67.3 percent. Brooks Schoon led the way with 28 points. Connor Cotton contributed 17, and EJ Hayes added 12.
Lane Thompson led Dwight with 16 points. Isaac Telford was next with 14 points. Bryson Connor finished with 10.
St. Anne (20-5) also won its 20th game of the year and will play Cissna Park at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Onarga. Cissna Park beat Iroquois West 59-51 in the first game of the night. Dwight (10-13) drops into the losers bracket and will meet Iroquois West at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Iroquois West.
In the two SVC Tournament games played at Iroquois on Tuesday, top-seeded Paxton-Buckley-Loda beat Momence 60-23, and Central defeated Watseka 59-47. P-B-L will meet Central in the tournament semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday at Onarga. Momence and Watseka will play at 6 p.m. at Iroquois West in a consolation bracket affair.