Despite Wheaton Warrenville South's best efforts to zone out the Glenbard East offense, the Tigers couldn't quite pull off the upset Friday night.
The visiting Rams, who took to the court 5-0 and atop the DuPage Valley Conference standings along with West Aurora, are used to scoring points in bunches. The Tigers (3-11, 1-5), however, held the Rams to just one field and three points in the second quarter and to just 17 in the first half before eventually succumbing 47-34.
"Their zone is tough and they do a nice job of extending it out," Glenbard East coach Scott Miller said of the Tigers' defense. "We're used to scoring a little bit more, but we kind of settled (for what the defense allowed) I thought in the second quarter."
Luckily for the visitors, while they were scoring a lowly three points, the Tigers were getting blanked in the second quarter by a stingy Rams defense. After JaRon Hall connected on three 3-pointers early and Glenbard East built a 14-8 lead after one quarter, the halftime score surprisingly was just 17-8.
Things opened up much more in the third quarter as each team tallied 16 points. The Rams used their defense to create some baskets and they got more aggressive on the offensive end as well.
"Their zone got us. They're long and their hands are always up and everything," said Rams forward Marvin Grant-Clark, who slammed a perfect alley-oop pass from Tahron Harvey for the only basket of the second quarter. "After halftime coach told us to keep the fire, keep the energy up and to ball fake against that zone."
Grant-Clark had a drive on the baseline for a second dunk and a 3-pointer as well while tallying 7 of his game-high 16 points in the third quarter. But Wheaton Warrenville South hung tough as guard Matt Kienzle got going with 9 points, including a 3 of his own as the third quarter ended with Glenbard East (10-4) on top 33-24.
But the Rams opened the fourth quarter with a short turnaround jumper from Brandon Havenga that sparked a 9-0 run capped by a 3-pointer from Mike Kjeldsen to seal the outcome.
Even in defeat, Tigers coach Bob Szorc had to like a few things he saw his team do on Friday night.
"Our kids battled tonight. We need some shots to go down on them but hats off to them," he said. "They came in and grinded out a win on the road. I'm pretty sure this is one of the lowest point totals of the year for them. For us this was a step in the right direction."
Hall finished with 13 points for Glenbard East and teammates Kjeldsen and Harvey each had 5 points and 6 rebounds. Pat Doherty contributed 6 points and a steal to the Tigers cause.