Hinsdale Central guard Brian Owens made the most of his opportunities in the third quarter of Friday's West Suburban Silver boys basketball showdown against Glenbard West.
Left open on a couple of possessions, Owens sank a pair of 3-pointers and then made another 3 to help the Red Devils counter the surging Hilltoppers. In the fourth quarter Hinsdale Central's defense and rebounding got it done in a 66-58 victory in Hinsdale.
"I got some wide open looks," said Owens, who finished with 13 points. "I am confident that I am going to knock those down. My teammates made some good passes."
Besides the long-range shooting from Owens, the Red Devils (10-5, 5-1) got a strong inside game from 6-foot-7 center Matt Rafferty. The sophomore scored a team-high 16 points and more importantly, his shot-blocking presence made the quick Hilltoppers guards adjust their shots when they drove the lane.
"I am there to help out on their best players -- just being there for my teammates and playing team defense," Rafferty said.
Glenbard West (9-6, 2-3) features an athletic lineup led by four guards. Keith Hayes, Jeff Levesque, Dikiria Washington and Corey Davis push the ball up the court and create their own shots with quick moves. Hayes scored a game-high 23 points and Levesque tallied 18.
The teams traded runs in the first quarter and it was 14-14 after the first eight minutes. In the second quarter Hinsdale Central was able to pull away to a 30-23 halftime lead.
In the third quarter it was Glenbard West's turn to make a run. Thanks to the play of the guards and center Sean Jenner, the Hilltoppers reeled off 13 unanswered points to take a 43-38 lead with 3:30 to play. Washington capped this run with a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
The Red Devils countered with a 9-0 run. Owens dished a nice backdoor feed to Jared Eck and sank his third 3-pointer of the quarter. Rigas Pappas and Chase Hamilton made shots too during this stretch. Hamilton finished with 10 points.
"We got up in the third quarter, but they came down and made some big shots," said Glenbard West coach Tim Hoder. "Owens had a big third quarter for them. On a couple of (our) misses, they beat us down the floor in transition. Once they got that lead, we couldn't overcome that."
The closest the Hilltoppers got in the fourth quarter was within 4 points. Hinsdale Central responded with an 8-0 run to put it away. In the fourth quarter the Red Devils also made 9 of 10 free throws.
"When you are trying to hold off a team in the end of the game, you have to make your free throws," Owens said.
"We did a much better job of executing offensively," said Hinsdale Central coach Nick Latorre. "We just tightened it up defensively. Brian was able to make a couple of nice plays in transition and we rebounded the ball a little better."