The sign of a good team is winning when you don't play your best.
Glenbard West's boys basketball team hopes that was the case Tuesday night.
Wheaton Warrenville South dictated the pace, but visiting Glenbard West still managed to emerge from the nonconference matchup with a 53-49 victory on Tuesday.
Allowing only 4 points in the third quarter, the Tigers (5-17) snagged a 31-30 lead before Glenbard West (11-9) finally began to play more to its style. An 11-2 run put the Hilltoppers ahead to stay at 41-33 with 4:37 left in the game.
Glenbard West still didn't make things easy on itself, though. Four straight missed free throws allowed WW South to claw within 43-40 on Matt Kienzle's bucket, but the Hilltoppers pulled it together in time to seal the win.
"It was a lot of mayhem out there today," said Glenbard West senior Jeff Levesque, who scored 7 of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter. "We kind of worked around it, and it went our way in the end. We got the win, that's what matters most."
WW South's trademark zone defense frustrated Glenbard West for much of the night even though the Hilltoppers managed to build a 14-7 first-quarter lead. The biggest issue for the Hilltoppers was cutting down on turnovers after they committed 11 in the first half.
Max Montgomery's 3-pointer at the buzzer put Glenbard West ahead 28-23 at halftime, but WW South allowed just a pair of third-quarter baskets to take the brief 31-30 lead on Michael Kramer's free throws. The Tigers shot 50 percent from the field and committed only 3 turnovers in the second half, but it wasn't quite enough to claim victory.
"We needed some key possessions down the stretch, and they looked like a veteran team," said Tigers coach Bob Szorc. "They did a good job converting at their end, and we struggled on our end."
Sophomore Keith Hayes tallied 16 points for Glenbard West and Sean Jenner added 10 points. Joe Waber led WW South with 10 points, while Kienzle scored 9 points off the bench.
Coming off consecutive hard-fought losses to Stevenson and York in the last week, Glenbard West needed a win. Even if the Hilltoppers played less than their best.
"We just didn't do a very good job attacking their zone, and the credit goes to them for that," said Hilltoppers coach Tim Hoder. "The irony is that we played pretty well the last two games and lost, and we didn't play particularly well tonight and got a win. That's just the way it goes sometimes."
Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_schmit