Glenbard West's offense has had something of a now-you-see-it, now-you-don't quality to it this season.
"We're a little bit like that," Hilltoppers coach Tim Hoder said Friday night. "We'll score a little bit in bunches and then we'll struggle sometimes for a couple of minutes."
Glenbard West got enough points in bunches to make a 14-point lead hold up at Downers Grove North, beating the Trojans 47-41 in a West Suburban Silver game.
Trailing by 5 points in the final minute of the first half, the Hilltoppers (12-9, 4-5) scored 6 quick points, with Max Montgomery's putback giving them an 18-17 halftime lead.
That spurt was nothing compared to their third-quarter run, a 14-0 burst that seemed to come in the blink of an eye to give the Hilltoppers a 35-21 lead.
"We played great defense 15 out of the 16 minutes in the first half," Trojans coach Jim Thomas said, "then we came out and kept turning the ball over again in the second half."
"It was really all about our energy," added 6-foot-4 Hilltoppers senior Sean Jenner. "We were playing really good defense. We were getting on the boards a lot more than we had been lately, and our offense was just coming to us today. That was really a big part."
It was a team effort, with senior guard Jeff Levesque scoring 6 of his 12 points during the run and grabbing a couple of steals.
"He got steals, he got a couple of layups, got a nice dish for another bucket, and that's kind of where he does best, in the open court," Hoder said.
Sophomore guard Keith Hayes hit a couple of big 3-pointers to go with 3 assists and 2 steals in the third quarter. Jenner did his part with 5 third-quarter rebounds.
"I just do whatever I can to help the team," Jenner said. "I'm not really a primary scorer. I'm just out there for defense and rebounding, so I was just trying to do my best to help out the team."
The Trojans whittled the lead down to 40-35 on a Dave Edwards basket with 2:08 to play, but Hayes hit six straight free throws to thwart the Trojans. Hayes finished with 15 points.
"For us to come back and get it to 5 was really good," Thomas said, "but Hayes stepped up and hit his free throws. He's a great player, handles the pressure well, gets to the free-throw line when big players step up and he iced the game. That's what big players do and that's what we're looking for."
It was the fifth straight loss for the Trojans (10-13, 1-9), eighth in their last nine games.
"The only way to dig yourself out of it is to start making plays," Thomas said. "Come late February and early March you've got to have your best players step up and contribute offensively and defensively, and right now we have some one-dimensional players and it's not helping us in the win column."
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