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What a comeback!

Rams rally from a 20-point deficit to beat South Elgin

Nelson’s six 3-pointers lead team to an overtime win in its conference opener

By Chris Fox

The Glenbard East boys basketball team staged a massive comeback to pull out a victory in Saturday’s Upstate Eight Valley Conference season opener at South Elgin. The Rams, who trailed by 20 points at one point in the third quarter, rallied to earn a 74-73 overtime victory.
Glenbard East, which improved its overall record to 5-2, will play West Aurora in this Friday’s conference game in Lombard. The Rams will play a non-conference game at Palatine on Saturday.
South Elgin led the Rams 24-14 at the end of the first quarter. The Storm’s lead stood at 39-27 at halftime. Leading by as many as 20 points in the third quarter, the Storm held what seemed to be a commanding 55-40 lead by the end of the period. South Elgin scored the first three points of the fourth quarter to expand its lead to 58-40.
Glenbard East sophomore Alijah Nelson caught fire from 3-point range in the fourth quarter, hitting four long-distance shots. Senior Korvante Davis added a pair of 3-pointers for the Rams during the fourth quarter. Glenbard East and South Elgin were tied at 67-67 at the end of the fourth period.
“We forced a bunch of turnovers and made four or five threes in a row,” said Glenbard East coach Scott Miller of the fourth-quarter uprising. “A lot of good things came out of this game. It was our first conference game against one of the better teams we’re going to play in our league. We were able to fight from behind. Now our guys know they can come back.”
Nelson connected on one more 3-pointer during the overtime period. He was fouled on the shot and made the free throw to complete a four-point play. Senior James Peterkin accounted for Glenbard East’s three other points of the overtime period with a field goal and a free throw.
Nelson, who didn’t score during the first quarter, finished the night with a team-leading 27 points. He sank six 3-point shots.
Davis and senior Kenny Adams both scored 14 points. Peterkin scored seven points, while senior Anthony Janega contributed six points.

Warriors crush Addison Trail to gain some revenge from
last season’s playoff loss

Playing its first home game of the 2017-18 season, the Willowbrook boys basketball team crushed Addison Trail 80-38 on Friday night in Villa Park. The lopsided victory moved the Warriors to 5-1 overall and 1-1 in West Suburban Gold Conference play. Willowbrook opened its conference season with an overtime loss at Proviso East on Dec. 1.
The Warriors had plenty of motivation in their rout of Addison Trail. The Blazers ended Willowbrook’s 2016-17 season by beating the Warriors 81-67 in an IHSA Class 4A regional semifinal game in Batavia on March 1. Willowbrook beat Addison Trail twice during the regular season, but the Blazers dominated the post-season meeting. A 23-0 run during the first half carried Addison Trail to a 33-6 lead in the second quarter of the playoff contest. The Blazers held a 40-23 halftime lead on their way to the victory, which ended the Warriors’ special season. Willowbrook posted an overall record of 24-5 in 2016-17. The Warriors surged to a 21-1 record; their 24-win total set a new program record for victories in a season. Willowbrook finished the season with three straight losses.
“That score was on the board,” said Willowbrook coach Chris Perkins, referring to the score of last year’s playoff loss being on the board in the locker room. “That was a reminder. We also watched that game film earlier this week. We only watched the first quarter. They [the Blazers] put it to us. I just wanted to remind the guys, so they could remember what that feeling was in the locker room. Our guys were ready tonight. They came out ready to play, and they were in attack mode the entire game.”
Nearly everything went the Warriors’ way in the first half of Friday’s game. Willowbrook held a 22-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. The lead ballooned to 46-18 by halftime. Junior Matas Masys sank a 3-point shot to give the Warriors a 27-12 lead with about seven minutes left in the first half. Senior Ethan Schuemer’s baseline jumper pushed the lead to 40-15 with about two minutes to play in the half. Senior Marshawn Phillips made a 3-pointer to move the lead to 43-15, and junior Levi Bentsen drained a 3-pointer at the first-half buzzer to give Willowbrook its 46-18 halftime advantage.
Phillips, who made a pair of 3-point shots during the game, finished the night with a team-leading 16 points. Bentsen drained five of six attempts from 3-point range to tally 15 points. Schuemer and junior Matas Masys each scored 13 points. Masys connected on three of his five 3-point attempts.
“We had to come out ready today,” said Phillips after Friday’s decisive victory. “We’ve got a lot of goals this year. One of the goals is winning conference; we also want to beat last year’s record.”
“We knew we’re the better team,” added Schuemer, who is beginning his third varsity season. “We definitely wanted to come out here and take care of business. We’ve got a really deep lineup with guys who know how to play together, so it’s really a fun team this year.”
The Warriors will play a conference home game against Hinsdale South this Friday.