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Warriors open the new year with an impressive victory

Four players score in double digits in a win at Hinsdale Central

The Willowbrook boys basketball team opened the 2018
portion of its schedule with Saturday’s 60-48 win at Hinsdale
Central. The non-conference victory gave the Warriors an overall
season record of 10-2. Willowbrook will continue its season
with this week’s West Suburban Gold Conference game at Morton,
followed by four games at Sterling High School’s Martin
Luther King Tournament.
Saturday’s game in Hinsdale was the Warriors’ first game in
nine days; Willowbrook lost 53-51 to Glenbard West in the title
contest of the Hilltoppers’ eight-team holiday tournament
in Glen Ellyn. The Warriors won their first three games of the
event to advance to the championship battle.
Willowbrook coach Chris Perkins gave the team a few days
off after that loss to give the players a chance to rest up for a
busy stretch of games in January. The month will include four
games at the tournament in Sterling—two on Saturday and two
more on Martin Luther King Day.
Willowbrook trailed the Red Devils 14-11 after one quarter.
The Warriors held a 27-22 halftime lead. The lead grew to
43-34 by the end of the third quarter. Hinsdale Central made a
3-point shot at the beginning of the fourth period to cut Willowbrook’s
lead to 43-37, but the Red Devils couldn’t pull any
closer during the remainder of the game.
“We’ve got a hectic schedule coming up this month,” said
Perkins, whose team begins January with a conference record
of 2-1. “In the first half [against Hinsdale Central] we managed
only 27 points; that’s sort of a low-scoring half. We got a better
rhythm going in the second half.”
Four Warriors posted double-digit scoring efforts. Seniors
Matt Myers and Ethan Schuemer both scored 13 points. Senior
Sikander Zafar and junior Matas Masys each contributed
10 points. Senior Cornelius Paxton, who made all six of his
free-throw attempts, scored eight points. Junior Scott Tumilty
contributed five points.
“When we’ve got four guys in double digits, we’re a hard
team to beat,” said Perkins, who also noted the Warriors outrebounded
Hinsdale Central 42-19. Willowbrook also enjoyed a
solid night at the foul line, making 22 of 26 attempts.
“With this much talent, you can’t stop all of us,” said Schuemer
after Saturday’s win. “So when you balance out the scoring,
players don’t know who to guard or double-team.”
In addition to scoring 13 points, Schuemer pulled down a
team-leading 12 rebounds.
“Coming off such a bad loss, the last thing you want to do
is sit at home and keep thinking about the loss; you want to get
back in the gym,” added Schuemer. “We flushed that loss [to
Glenbard West] down the toilet. We’re moving ahead. We’re
rolling from here on out.”

Second-half surge lifts Broncos past St. Laurence

By Mike Sandrolini

The Broncos got a little help from
overseas to secure their first home victory of
the 2017-18 season, 67-56, over St. Laurence
Friday night.
Senior Matthew Morrissey—who returned
from Ireland with his family late Thursday
night after visiting his grandmother and
attending a cousin’s wedding—scored 11 of
his 18 points in the second half to help the
Broncos overcome a 35-25 halftime deficit.
“I landed in from Ireland at 11:00 last
night,” said Morrissey, who also grabbed a
team-high eight rebounds. “I was kind of
tired but I got some sleep so I was fine.”
The 6-5 Morrissey went to Montini early
Friday morning to warm up and make sure
he was ready to go that night. Morrissey
usually is in the Broncos’ starting lineup, but
head coach Daryl Thomas brought him in off
the bench to begin the game.
“We weren’t sure what we were going to
get out of Matt. That’s the reason why Matt
didn’t start is because I wanted to kind of
bring him on (into the game),” Thomas said.
“Coming off the bench was kind of
different,” Morrissey said, “but I got back in
sync. It felt good.”
Morrissey’s drive to the basket off of a
steal capped an 11-2 Bronco run and put
Montini within a point of St. Laurence, 41-
40, with 2:47 remaining in the third period.
An inside hoop from senior Yousuf Mitchell
(six rebounds) 14 seconds later enabled the
Broncos to take a 42-41 advantage, and then
junior guard Anthony Thompson sank a pair
of free throws that gave Montini the lead for
good, 44-43.
Thompson netted 16 of his team-high
21 points in the second half. He added six
rebounds and two steals.
“We’ve had some tough luck at home,”
Thomas said. “I think we kind of turned a
corner in the second half. We came out and
played much more aggressively defensively.
Our defense took care of our offense in a lot
of cases. We were struggling to score, and
so we got some steals and we got the ball up
the floor a little bit. We got some layups, so it
was a good victory.”
St. Laurence, which entered the contest
with a 13-4 record and won nine of its first
10 games, overcame some poor second-half
shooting to pull within four points, 56-52,
with 1:53 to play. But hard-working junior
guard Scott West shut the door on any hopes
the Vikings had of a comeback. West hit two free throws, and followed that with two layups—all coming during the final 1:08. He finished with 12 points; nine in the fourth quarter.
Thomas attributed the Broncos’ first-half lapse to “bad shots, bad decision-making, poor execution on offense—the things that bit us in the last three home games.”
“But I think at halftime we really focused our energy on defense because I knew defensively we could do some things against them. We started pressing. We pressured and went to pressing them up and down the court. We got out of man (to man defense) and dropped into a zone. We noticed that they weren’t shooting the ball particularly well, and then we rebounded well.”
The Broncos are hoping to get 6-3 junior guard Jemari Harris back into the lineup shortly. Harris, who’s had tendonitis, hasn’t played since Dec. 22.
“Jamari is such an integral part of what we do,” Thomas said. “He came back for a couple of practices and did some minor stuff. I didn’t feel he was going to be ready for today’s game so we kept him out again to give him a little more rest. We’ll see how he does this week in practice.”
The Broncos, now 11-4 overall and 2-1 in conference play, are on track to register their first winning campaign since 2012-13 and could become the first Montini boys basketball squad to post 20 victories since the 2000-01 season.
They will be on the road this Friday night at De La Salle as well as the following Friday, Jan. 19, at Providence-St. Mel.
“De La Salle is going to be tough,” Thomas said. “It’s always tough to play on the road in the Catholic League. They’ve got some really solid players and they’ve been playing well. They’ve been playing some really tough competition so now going back on the road in the Catholic League, it’ll be interesting.”

So close! Rams drop an overtime battle to Bartlett

Glenbard East rallies from a 14-point second-half deficit to send the game to overtime

The Glenbard East boys basketball team opened 2018 with a heartbreaking 65-64 overtime loss to Bartlett in Friday’s Upstate Eight Valley Conference game in Lombard.
The Rams never held the lead during 32 minutes of regulation play. Glenbard East trailed Bartlett 40-26 with about five minutes left in the third quarter. The Rams cut the Hawks’ lead to 42-38 by the end of the third quarter. Bartlett held a 55-50 lead with over two minutes to play in the fourth quarter, but the Rams scored five straight points and tied the score at 55-55 by the end of regulation.
Glenbard East scored the first points of the four-minute overtime period to take the lead, which would change hands a few more times in the ensuing minutes. Bartlett scored the game’s final points by making two free throws with 12.5 seconds left in the overtime. The Rams fired the game’s last shot, which bounced off the rim.
The loss sent Glenbard East to 6-9 overall and 1-2 in conference play. The Rams’ season resumes with tonight’s conference home game against West Chicago.
“It’s been a broken record; we’ve lost about four games like that,” said Glenbard East coach Scott Miller after the one-point loss to Bartlett. “It comes down to execution at the defensive end. We’ve got to do a better job defensively. We did a good job for the most part, but we had some breakdowns. I’m proud of our guys and their fight.”
It looked like the Hawks might coast to an easy win after they rolled to an 18-4 lead after one quarter. The Rams, however, rallied to cut Bartlett’s lead to 22-21 with under three minutes to play in the first half. The Hawks then scored the last nine points of the second period to grab a 31-21 halftime lead.
Sophomore Alijah Nelson drained a 3-point shot to reduce Bartlett’s lead to 40-29 with about five minutes left in the third quarter. Sophomore DaRon Hall provided a 3-point play to cut the lead to 40-34 with 3:11 left in the period.
Senior Korvante Davis drained a 3-point shot early in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 43-43. Senior Kenny Adams scored a basket to cut Bartlett’s lead to 49-48 at the 4:36 mark of the period. Davis made a pair of free throws to drop the Hawks’ lead to 51-50 with 3:39 left in regulation. Bartlett scored the next four points, but a 3-point shot from Nelson and a pair of free throws from Adams evened the score at 55-55 by the end of the period.
Junior Antonio Davis gave the Rams their first lead of the night when he grabbed an offensive rebound and scored an inside basket early in the overtime period. Bartlett made a 3-point shot to regain the lead, but Adams then scored to give Glenbard East a 59-58 lead with about two minutes to play. The Hawks went on a 5-0 run to take a 63-59 lead, but Adams made a 3-pointer with about 47 seconds remaining to cut Bartlett’s lead to 63-62.
Moments after the Hawks turned the ball over, Davis scored to give Glenbard East a 64-63 advantage. Moments later, Bartlett made a pair of free throws to grab a 65-64 lead with 12.5 seconds to play.
Adams launched a baseline shot in the closing seconds of the overtime. Adams, who scored five points in the fourth quarter and five more in the overtime period, finished the night with a team-high 19 points. Nelson, who made four shots from 3-point range, scored 16 points, while Davis provided 11 points.
Senior James Peterkin scored nine points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Hall contributed six points.

Glenbard East gymnasts claim second place at 12-team invite

The Glenbard East girls gymnastics team placed second in Saturday’s 12-team Naperville North Invitational. Glenbard West won the team title with a score of 147.15. The Rams completed the invite with a score of 141.20.
Glenbard East freshman Kali Kartheiser finished fourth in the all-around standings with a score of 36.575. Kartheiser earned third place on the uneven parallel bars (9.375), fifth in floor exercises (9.3) and seventh on the balance beam (8.75). She tied for seventh on the vault (9.15).
Glenbard East sophomore Kelsey Donovan tied for seventh in the all-around standings with her score of 34.65. Donovan turned in an eighth-place performance on the balance beam (8.7). She finished tenth on the vault (9.025) and scored another tenth-place finish in floor exercises (8.95).
Freshman Rebecca Honig of the Rams provided a sixth-place finish on the balance beam (8.8), a seventh-place score in floor exercises (9.2) and an eighth-place showing on the vault (9.125). Senior Krasimira Ganeva placed eighth in floor exercises (9.05).