The Riverside-Brookfield duo of Damonta Henry and Eric Loury were just a little to much for Palatine to cope with as the Pirates fell 58-51 to the Bulldogs on Thursday in York's Jack Tosh Holiday Classic.
The Pirates (8-5) will play the host Dukes today at 6 p.m. Friday. They hope to improve on their pool-play mark in the tournament, which stands at 1-1.
Henry led the Bulldogs (10-3) with 22 points and 7 rebounds while Loury ended up with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
"Henry is good," said Palatine coach Eric Millstone. "He's going to be good at the next level. I couldn't fault our physical effort. We just had some offensive and defensive lapses in the game that hurt us."
The Pirates never led, falling behind 14-8 after the first quarter and trailing 27-15 with 2:21 left in the first half.
Dondre Watson and Greg Grana connected for 3 point baskets just before halftime to narrow the gap to 29-21 at the break.
Roosevelt Smart (22 points) led a Palatine rally that cut the lead to 36-34 on a 3 with 3:16 left in the quarter. Smart had 8 points during the Pirates' 13-7 run to start the second half.
The Bulldogs countered with a 6-0 run before Chris Macahon (7 points, 5 rebounds) scored with 0.4 left on the clock to pull Palatine within 42-36.
The Pirates got within 46-41 with 4:37 left on a free throw from Josh Baldus. who was solid for the entire game.
R-B's Henry then keyed a 8-0 run that put the game away with 2 assists and a basket for a 54-41 lead with 2:25 left.
"Baldus was very active tonight," said Millstone of his senior forward's 9-point, 9-rebound effort. "He went against some really big players and held his own. He stepped up to a big challenge."
"I had to get a mindset to get ready to face their big players," said Baldus. "I've been playing better recently, as has the team. We've learned that we can play with any team. Now we have to tell ourselves that we can beat them."
Riverside-Brookfield coach Tom McCloskey sited Loury for his defensive effort on Smart.
"Eric did a really good job on Smart," said McCloskey. "He got his points but he earned them. We knew they could shoot the ball so we wanted to stop their 3-point shooters. Baldus had a really nice game for them. Down the stretch we executed and did the things that we do well."
That included passing well and hitting timely shots.
Neither team shot well from the field with Palatine connecting on 24 of 58 shots for 41 percent while R-B shot 22 of 60 for 36 percent. Riverside-Brookfield led the rebound battle 28-24 after a 13-8 first-quarter edge.