Palatine was hoping to walk away with the third-place prize at its own Ed Molitor Tournament on Saturday afternoon. The Pirates were coming off a tough loss to Niles North 60-59 on Friday night that cost them a berth in the championship game.
But Central Suburban foe Deerfield had fast starts in the first and third quarters to fend off Palatine 57-48 to take home the third-place trophy.
The Warriors (3-1) established the inside game early with Michael Alfieri (19 points, 10 rebounds) scoring the first two baskets in the post.
"Our focus was to establish post play early," said Deerfield coach Dan McKendrick. "In our first few games we played teams that played zone, so we were shooting over them."
Palatine (2-2) pulled to within 8-6 on Nolan Gavin's basket but Deerfield went on a 12-1 run to open a 20-7 lead with 2:44 left in the first quarter.
"We knew we had to stop (Chris) Macahon," said McKendrick. "We thought if we could pressure him and double up it would take them out of their offense. But they made some adjustments and started to get different looks."
The Pirates righted the ship in the second quarter with strong play from junior Justin Chaney, who scored 9 of his team-high 15 points in the quarter. Chaney scored Palatine's last two baskets of the first half to cut Deerfield lead to 31-28.
The Pirates stayed close and trailed 37-33 with 4:37 left in the third quarter but didn't score the rest of the period while Deerfield finished it with a 10-0 run to lead 47-33.
Andrew Ferdman's basket to start the fourth quarter pushed the Warrior lead to 49-33 before the Pirates mounted a comeback. Sophomore Matt Ulrich (14 points, four 3-pointers) started and finished a 10-0 spurt with two 3-pointers to slice the lead to 49-43 with 3:21 remaining.
Palatine could get no closer as Deerfield hit 6 of 6 free throws in the last :39 to preserve the win.
Eric Porter had 12 points and Patrick Burns 10 for Deerfield. Mike Williams pulled down 12 rebounds for Palatine.
"They are a very skilled team and the were able to get good looks at the basket," said Palatine coach Eric Millstone. "In the early part of the season, the players are figuring out where they fit in and what their roles are. At the same time, we as coaches are trying to figure out the makeup. With all our young players, a few are still figuring out what a good shot is. A good shot in the first quarter may not be a good shot in the fourth quarter. It's a learning process, but we're going to get there."