Glenbard South spent three quarters of Friday night's boys basketball game against Elmwood Park looking for what Mike Atkinson brought in the fourth.
Atkinson came off the bench for the final period and provided the spark that turned a 1-point lead into a 64-47 Raiders victory in Glen Ellyn.
"We brought Mike Atkinson in off the bench, and I said go give me some energy," said Raiders coach Wade Hardtke, who played all 15 Raiders who dressed for the game, "and that's exactly what he did. ... I think everybody pretty much had a chance, and Mike finally sparked us, getting up the passing lanes and putting some pressure on, and finally a couple of other people started to follow. I guess it's hard to pin it on one person, but I think he went out there and he made some things happen. It certainly helped ease some of the pressure, and when you start getting some buckets it makes stretching the lead out a little easier."
"I just went out there and just basically did what he told me to do," said Atkinson, a senior. "Get the guys involved because they were playing a little lackadaisical, so just tried to get some energy going, get the crowd into it."
Alex Jeske's 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer gave Glenbard South (4-10, 3-2 Metro Suburban Conference) a 36-35 lead going into the fourth. With Atkinson added to the mix, Jarius Shannon knocked down another 3-pointer and junior Chaun Rickette scored and the Raiders began to pull away.
"We were just a little flat out there," Atkinson said of the first three quarters. "Our shots weren't falling as much and it seemed like a lot of the guys were getting discouraged in their shots, and that translated to the whole team's body language and chemistry. Then we picked it up obviously and got the win."
Atkinson's 3-pointer with 3:21 to go put the Raiders ahead 56-44. He finished with 3 points, 2 rebounds, a steal and an assist in about six minutes of action.
"It felt really good," Atkinson said. "I haven't had a long increment of time in a varsity game like that, so it felt good to be on the court and help the team the best I could. It was nice. I think they responded pretty good."
Rickette again led the Raiders in scoring with 22 points and added 5 steals, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
"Really they did a nice job of containing him and taking him away," Hardtke said.
Jeske scored 14 points and had 3 steals as the Raiders forced 27 Elmwood Park turnovers.
The victory was a good sign for a Raiders team that is still learning.
"I think I looked out there and saw three juniors and two sophomores out there," Hardtke said. "Anytime we can keep getting those guys experience and getting them some minutes and we can come out on top with a victory, it always helps."