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With 6-foot-9 Streamwood center Zach Harris sidelined 4-6 weeks due to a fractured foot suffered in an intrasquad scrimmage over the weekend, the Sabres understood the need to play team basketball Thursday.
Streamwood benefitted greatly from a career-best 30-point effort from guard Brandon Larkin-Guilfoyle, but multiple players contributed at key moments in the fourth quarter and the Sabres shot well from the free-throw line to notch a 60-54 nonconference victory over visiting McHenry.
"This was a nice win," Streamwood coach Tim Jones said. "I don't think we've ever beaten them before. We made our free throws. That's been our biggest nemesis."
The Sabres sank 16 of 21 attempts from the free-throw line. That was a vast improvement over last week, when they lost a 1-point game to Bartlett due to a 3-for-10 performance from the line and lost to Downers Grove North in double overtime after a 9-for-18 showing at the stripe.
"This is a relief after taking those 2 close losses," said Streamwood junior Joel Lightbourne, who registered 12 points and 5 rebounds.
McHenry led 16-10 after a quarter, but the Sabres won the second period 14-9 to pull within 25-24 at halftime.
Larkin-Guilfoyle caught fire in the third quarter. The 6-foot-2 senior connected on 7 of the first 8 shots he attempted after halftime, including a pair of 3-pointers. His second make from beyond the arc put the Sabres ahead 41-35 with 2:51 left in the third quarter.
"I got going and I got some confidence," Larkin-Guilfoyle said. "Once I got rolling everything was falling. They started caving in on me in the fourth quarter to keep me from getting the ball."
Despite Larkin-Guilfoyle's heroics, McHenry (1-3) regained the lead late in the third quarter with an 11-4 run, highlighted by a three-point play from active forward Robert Tonyan. He led the Warrior with 19 points and 16 rebounds.
The teams played the third quarter to a 21-21 draw with McHenry still leading by a point, 46-45.
However, Streamwood held the Warriors to 8 points in the final quarter on 3-of-14 shooting. McHenry made a trio of 3-pointers in the third quarter but missed all 7 long-distance shots attempted in the fourth. That wasn't the only issue for the Warriors.
"We started getting in a little foul trouble with our other big and they outrebounded us," Tonyan said. "We didn't do a good enough job boxing out and we put them on the line too many times."
Streamwood sank 7 of 9 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter, but the outcome wasn't settled until Lightbourne gained inside position for a layup and drew the foul with 29 seconds left. He completed the three-point play to put Streamwood ahead 58-52.
Lightbourne scored 5 points in the final period, Julius Evans scored 4 of his 8 points in the fourth quarter and Brett Kiesel scored all 4 of his points in the fourth to offset the attention McHenry paid to Larkin-Guilfoyle down the stretch.
"A lot of guys contributed, which was good to see," Jones said.