Even with Chip Flanigan, Glenbard North's boys basketball team faced a stiff challenge guarding 6-foot-7 Hinsdale Central sophomore Matt Rafferty.
With Flanigan riding the bench due to foul trouble, it became almost impossible to match Rafferty in the post.
The Red Devils took advantage of Rafferty's strength inside while rolling to a 66-46 victory over Glenbard North in Saturday's Downers North Winter Classic. The talented sophomore scored a game-high 21 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as Hinsdale Central (9-5) dominated the final three quarters.
"We just kind of got on a roll and took over," Rafferty said. "We knew if we went at (Flanigan) and got him in foul trouble early, we'd have an advantage inside. We just kept pounding it inside."
Not only did Flanigan, a 6-5 junior, run into foul trouble, junior guard Justin Jackson also picked up two first-half fouls. Pasquale Fiduccia put the Panthers (7-7) ahead 18-13 early in the second quarter, but Hinsdale Central unleashed a 21-4 run with Flanigan and Jackson out of the game.
Leading 34-25 at halftime, Hinsdale Central extended the advantage in the third quarter and beyond.
"I think our energy level just picked up," said Red Devils coach Nick Latorre. "I thought the bench got us going, we were able to get it inside more. It was a combination of things, but I attribute it to our kids."
Poor shooting also led to Glenbard North's demise. The Panthers made only 9 of 42 shots in the last three quarters while watching Hinsdale Central shoot over 50 percent during the same span.
Alec Hutcherson scored 13 points and Brian Owens, who made 7 of 8 free throws, added 12 points. Flanigan finished with 10 points and Jackson scored 9 points.
"Justin and Chip got two fouls in the first half, and that was kind of our undoing," said Panthers coach Joe Larson. "We just didn't play very well during that stretch with those guys on the bench, and we couldn't hit a shot to save our lives."
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