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The Bartlett boys basketball team made the most of its limited opportunities against patient South Elgin Friday night, particularly in the second quarter of a 43-25 Upstate Eight Valley road win.
The Storm actually led 12-10 after a quarter, thanks to 8 first-quarter points from 6-foot-4, 200-pound senior forward Ryne Lundy. However, Bartlett (5-2, 2-0) caught fire in the second period. The Hawks made 6 of 9 field goals, including 4 of 5 attempts from 3-point range over a zone defense, and outscored South Elgin (2-5, 0-2) by 13 to take a 28-17 halftime lead.
Bartlett guard Jon Moss had the hot hand. After missing his first 3 long-range attempts in the first quarter, the 5-foot-10 senior drained his first 4 shots of the second, including three straight 3-pointers. His third in a row capped a 15-2 run that staked Bartlett to a 25-14 lead with 4:19 remaining before halftime.
"My teammates just told me to keep shooting," said Moss, who scored all 11 of his points in the second quarter. "And Lance (Whitaker) did a great job getting me the ball in position to shoot."
"He did the same thing last week against Elgin," Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith said of Moss. "On that last 3 he was calling for the ball and clapping his hands. Once he was in rhythm his eyes lit up. You have to shoot a team out of a zone and we did."
Whitaker, who finished with game highs of 13 points and 8 rebounds, played a key defensive role. After Lundy scored 8 early points with strong drives to the basket, Wolfsmith assigned Whitaker to guard him. South Elgin's big man, who also picked up his third foul late the second quarter, was held to 4 points in the second quarter and did not score after halftime.
"He was playing physical down low, bodying our big men," Whitaker said. "I just tried to keep my base and not get into shoving matches."
"He's a guard and I'm a post, so he's a bit quicker than I am," Lundy said. "With me being slower than him, he had a jump on my moves."
The Bartlett perimeter defense was outstanding. The Hawks held South Elgin without a made 3-pointer in only 4 attempts and they kept Darius Wells from scoring a single point. A junior guard, Wells entered the game as South Elgin's leading scorer with 11 points per game.
The Storm struggled offensively after the first quarter. They managed only 5 points in the second quarter, 2 in the third and 6 in the fourth. They managed 10 total field goals on only 25 attempts. Coach Chaz Taft said his team needs to do a better job of making cuts to get open and setting better screens.
"Basically, it came down to toughness," Taft said. "We can't talk about Xs and Os until we develop toughness. It's a slow process."
Both teams return to UEC Valley action Saturday at 6 p.m. South Elgin hosts Metea Valley (3-4, 2-1). Bartlett, which has won 3 straight, faces a key test against Waubonsie Valley (5-2, 1-1).