Thursday night's Upstate Eight Valley contest between Bartlett and Waubonsie Valley featured a pair of Division I talents in the Hawks' Lance Whitaker and the Warriors' Jared Brownbridge.
AAU teammates in the off-season, the UIC-bound Whitaker and Santa Clara-bound Brownbridge faced each other earlier this year in a game in which Bartlett edged Waubonsie Valley in triple overtime.
This time around the Warriors returned the favor.
Brownbridge scored 14 of his game-high 35 points in the fourth quarter to propel his team to a 67-49 win.
Along with Brownbridge's effort, Waubonsie Valley coach Steve Weemer praised his team's defensive intensity, especially on Whitaker, who scored 18 points but only 4 in the second half.
"He's the most college-ready player we've faced this season," Weemer said of Whitaker. "Howard Moore at UIC is getting a great player.
"Our goal in the second half was to hold him to 6 (points) or less. We knew we had to guard him as a team because we couldn't guard him 1-on-1. I was really proud of our guys' defensive effort in the second half."
The Hawks (17-6, 6-2) led 19-14 early in the second quarter after a pair of Whitaker baskets. That's when the Warriors (15-7, 5-4) stepped up the defensive pressure, holding Bartlett without a field goal for the next 6˝ minutes.
On the offensive end Waubonsie Valley outscored its opponent 19-4 the rest of the quarter as Brownbridge scored 9 points during the run, giving the Warriors a 33-23 lead at halftime.
"We thought about the last game that went to triple overtime where we started out slow," Brownbridge said. "We wanted to come out with intensity and just play the way we know how to play."
Down 40-25, Bartlett made one final push in the third quarter with an 11-0 run that cut the Warriors lead to 40-36. The run began on a basket in the lane by Tim McKeague, followed by a steal from Marcus Aluquin off the ensuing inbounds pass. Aluquin was fouled on the play and sank both free throws. Matt Gialamas ended the scoring drought for the Warriors with a one-handed hook in the lane that made the score 42-36.
Brownbridge took over in the fourth quarter, starting with a spin move that led to a drive through the lane and ending with a layup, which gave Waubonsie Valley a 53-41 lead. It was the first of 14 straight points for Brownbridge.
The Hawks were held to just two field goals in the fourth quarter, including a 3 by Jon Moss and a basket underneath by Aluquin.
"Jared (Brownbridge) is a great shooter and we knew he was going to get his points," Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith said. "We didn't do a very good job defending the things they were doing to get him those baskets."