The Fenton and South Elgin boys basketball teams are young squads trying to learn what it will take to be successful this season.
The lessons learned from Tuesday night's battle between the teams at Fenton's 27th annual Chuck Mitchell Thanksgiving Tournament made for an exciting game as the Storm held off the Bison 46-45.
"It wasn't pretty, but we got it," said Storm junior guard Darius Wells, whose late 3-point basket gave South Elgin a 46-43 lead that turned out to be a permanent advantage.
Wells, who finished with 15 points, said South Elgin coach Chaz Taft told the team to keep it simple.
"Coach said we were going for home runs and not singles. We started to make the simple plays and we played better as a team," Wells said.
The fourth quarter was relatively quiet offensively with each team scoring just 8 points. But was when those points were scored that was critical.
Two free throws by Andrew Kottra, who shared team-high scoring honors for Fenton with teammate Tyler Troly with each scoring 8 points, tied the game at 43 with 1:33 left in the contest.
With just 19 seconds on the clock, Greg Wagner converted a layup to put the Bison (1-1) to within one at 46-45. However, Fenton's final shot of the game was missed to keep South Elgin ahead.
The Storm (1-1) led 29-24 at halftime. Fenton shot just 2-of-11 from the field, but made 9 of 12 free throws to stay in the game.
The Bison shot 5-of-11 in the third quarter to trail just 38-37 at the end of 24 minutes.
South Elgin's post play was a crucial factor in the game's outcome. Starter Ryne Lundy, a 6-4 senior, finished with eight rebounds.
Robert Grant, a 6-6 junior, came off the bench, to score a game-high 16 points and pull down 10 rebounds.
"Robert wants to do good. Sometimes he puts too much pressure on himself. But he's learning," Taft said.
With Wells and Lundy the only team members with significant varsity experience, it's on-the-job training for the Storm.
"They need to learn to play together and learn to feed off each other," Taft said. "I'm happy with everybody tonight. It was a good team win."