Buzzer beater in Lombard; four overtimes in Villa Park
The Glenbard East and Willowbrook boys basketball teams produced some memorable finishes in their respective Friday night home victories. The Rams trailed South Elgin with 1.4 seconds to play before winning on a last-second shot in Lombard. The Warriors earned an equally wild victory in Villa Park by outlasting District 88 rival Addison Trail in a quadruple-overtime battle. Sophomore Kenny Adams was the hero of Glenbard East’s 54-53 Upstate Eight Valley Conference win over the visiting Storm. The Rams trailed South Elgin 53-52 with 1.4 seconds to play when Adams caught an inbounds pass from junior Michael Finley and launched a midrange shot as the buzzer sounded. The shot rattled around the rim and fell through to give the Rams the victory and trigger a boisterous midcourt celebration. Adams wasn’t even in the game when South Elgin sank two free throws to take its 53-52 lead with two seconds to play. The Rams then inbounded the ball to half court and called a time out with 1.4 seconds remaining. Adams then checked into the game. He wasn’t Finley’s primary option on the inbounds throw. “We were trying to get it to [senior] Zach Walsh,” explained Glenbard East head coach Scott Miller of the final play. “They believe in me,” said Adams of his teammates. “Coach put me in for a reason. I just took what they gave me.” Adams bobbled the ball as he caught Finley’s pass and turned toward the basket. The shot left his hands within a fraction of a second of the buzzer. The last-second heroics from Adams helped Glenbard East improve to 14-9 overall and 5-1 in the conference. Friday’s win marked the Rams’ second dramatic win over South Elgin this season. Glenbard East trailed the Storm by 20 points at halftime of the Dec. 11 game in South Elgin but stormed back to win 75-73 in overtime. Walsh drained a 3-point shot at the end of regulation to tie the score and send that game to overtime. Glenbard East held a 34-27 halftime lead over the Storm in Friday’s rematch, but the Rams went cold in the third quarter, when they scored only three points. South Elgin held a 38-37 lead with one quarter to play. The lead changed hands six times during the first four minutes of the final period before South Elgin made a 3-point shot to take a 48-45 lead with about 3:50 to play. Finley scored the game’s next four points, including a 3-point play that gave the Rams a 49-48 lead with under two minutes to play. The Storm regained the lead, but a 3-point shot by Walsh gave the Rams a 52-50 edge with about 55 seconds remaining. South Elgin made three free throws in the final minute, including a pair of shots with two seconds to play. The Rams then inbounded the ball to half court and called a time out to set up the final play. Finley finished with a team-high 19 points, including eight points in the fourth quarter. Senior Terrence Lakes added 15 points, while Walsh scored eight points. Adams, who made a 3-point shot in the first half, provided five points. Glenbard East earned another dramatic victory earlier in the week when it edged Downers Grove North by two points in overtime. Lakes drove to the hoop to score the winning basket at the end of the overtime period. The Rams’ season continues with Saturday afternoon’s non-conference home game against Hinsdale Central. Glenbard East and the Red Devils will tip off at 4 p.m.
The Warriors avenged a pair of West Suburban Gold Conference losses when they beat Addison Trail and Hinsdale South on Friday and Saturday in Villa Park. Willowbrook beat Addison Trail 85-82 in quadruple overtime on Friday. Less than 24 hours later, the Warriors returned to their home court and posted a 72-69 win over Hinsdale South. The two weekend wins gave the Warriors a three-game winning streak and moved the team to 10-12 overall and 3-5 in the conference. Willowbrook held a 28-19 halftime lead over the Blazers in Friday’s game. Addison Trail trimmed the Warriors’ lead to 44-40 by the end of the third quarter. The Blazers held a lead late in regulation, but a last-second basket by sophomore Ethan Schuemer tied the score at 56-56 and sent the game into a four-minute overtime period. The teams were tied at 62-62 after the first overtime; 67-67 after the second and 75-75 after the third. Addison Trail scored the first points of the first three overtimes. The Warriors opened the scoring in the final overtime. Six Warriors contributed double-digit scoring efforts in the win, which avenged a loss at Addison Trail in the conference opener on Dec. 5. Schuemer and sophomore Sikander Zafar both scored 16 points. Senior Kevin Miller, junior Freddie Clay and sophomore Matt Myers contributed 12 points each. Senior Billy Degnan added 10 points. Miller provided four 3-point shots, while Degnan sank three shots from 3-point range. In addition to leading their team in scoring, Schuemer and Zafar shared the rebounding load for Willowbrook. Zafar snared 15 rebounds, while Schuemer grabbed 14 rebounds. The four-overtime shootout on Friday could have been a convenient excuse for a sluggish performance on Saturday. The Warriors, however, played with energy against the Hornets. Willowbrook was motivated to gain revenge for a 22-point loss at Hinsdale South in December. The Warriors held a 37-35 halftime lead over the Hornets. Hinsdale South rallied to take a 56-53 lead by the end of the third quarter. Clay finished the night with a team-leading 20 points. Schuemer provided 15 points and 11 rebounds. Miller scored 10 points, while Degnan and freshman Matas Masys scored nine and eight points, respectively. “We’re turning a corner,” said Willowbrook coach Chris Perkins on Saturday in describing the Warriors’ noticeable improvement in the second half of the conference season. “The guys are gaining experience, and it’s starting to show. I think it’s a combination of things. They’re more confident, and a lot of it has to do with experience. We were losing close games like these earlier in the season. We’ve been in these situations so many times that now our guys are able to hold their composure at the end of the game.” The Warriors opened their three-game winning streak with a 51-44 non-conference win at Hoffman Estates on Jan. 26. Willowbrook trailed the Hawks 28-18 at halftime but rallied to tie the score at 35-35 by the end of the third period. Degnan led the Warriors in scoring with 17 points. He made six of nine field-goal attempts, including two of five shots from 3-point range. Clay, who made seven of 12 shots, added 15 points. Willowbrook will continue its season with this Friday’s conference game at Morton.
Zabran sets personal-best scoring mark against Hinsdale South
Senior Josie Zabran of the Willowbrook girls basketball team turned in the highest-scoring game of her varsity career when she poured in 25 points in last week’s West Suburban Gold Conference game at Hinsdale South. Zabran made 11 of 19 shots from the field and sank three of five free-throw attempts in the Jan. 27 game. The Hornets edged Willowbrook 53-50. Zabran also made a team-high eight rebounds for the Warriors, who outscored the Hornets 17-12 in the fourth quarter. Juniors Milena Sogura and Grace Chantos added seven and six points, respectively. The Warriors suffered another narrow loss to a conference opponent one night later, falling 42-38 to Addison Trail on Thursday in Villa Park. Zabran once again led the Warriors in scoring with 21 points. She made seven of 12 field-goal attempts and sank seven of 10 free throws. Senior Alyssa Spada added eight points, while senior Kalyn Konrath grabbed 10 rebounds. The loss to the Blazers dropped the Warriors to 7-17 overall and 3-8 in conference play.