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Just a few days ago Hinsdale Central's boys basketball team clinched the outright West Suburban Silver title.
Friday in Glen Ellyn, the Red Devils played like they had to clinch it all over again.
Showing the same focus and energy as in every game during a 12-game winning streak, Hinsdale Central capped its championship Silver run with a 56-44 victory over Glenbard West.
As a reward the Red Devils (18-5, 11-1) will play state-ranked Gold champion Proviso East as the highlight of Wednesday's WSC crossovers. Hinsdale Central's lone Silver loss came to Oak Park more than two months ago.
"It all starts on the defensive end, and we came out strong in the first couple minutes and just kept rolling from there," said Red Devils sophomore center Matt Rafferty, who scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. "The team chemistry is great. On defense playing as one fist. That's where it all starts."
Glenbard West (12-12, 4-8) stayed close as sophomore Keith Hayes scored to keep his team within 15-11 a minute into the second quarter. Hinsdale Central's defense then held the Hilltoppers scoreless for nearly five minutes to quickly build a double-digit lead.
A 7-0 run early in the third quarter, highlighted by a pair of Rigas Pappas putbacks, put Hinsdale Central comfortably ahead at 36-19.
"The way they're playing right now, I knew that if we didn't play well that could happen," said Glenbard West coach Tim Hoder. "As good as they are offensively, they're really tough defensively. We had a hard time creating shots against them."
Alec Hutcherson knocked down three 3-pointers in the first half while scoring all 9 of his points for Hinsdale Central. Chase Hamilton added a pair of first-half 3-pointers and finished with 8 points.
Hayes, coming off the bench on senior night, led Glenbard West with 13 points. The Hilltoppers' offensive struggles were epitomized by their 16 turnovers.
"Our defense has kind of been our calling card in 2013," said Hinsdale Central coach Nick Latorre. "We talked about trying to maintain playing at a high level. At this level you can't turn it on and off. You have to try and play at a high level all the time, and I think for the most part our kids did a good job of playing well, playing hard."
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