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As the only returning starter for the Glenbard East boys basketball team, senior guard JaRon Hall has elevated his game this season.
On Tuesday Hall scored and assisted almost every way possible to once again score 30 points, but Rich South pulled out the 60-58 victory in Lombard on the craziest of shots.
The Stars' Bryce Lydon missed an inside shot from the left of the lane, but the rebound squirted back along the baseline.
Lydon grabbed and shot the ball in almost a continuous motion, and the result was an improbable swish to beat the buzzer.
"We fought to the end really. I'm proud of all of the guys that came up. Unfortunately, they got the lucky tip at the end," Hall said.
"I was calling 'Timeout,' (on the rebound) with like 2.8 seconds. Then (Lydon) threw that Hail Mary up and I'm like, 'Son of a gun,' and it just hit," Rich South coach Scot Ritter said.
The loss stung for the Rams (1-4) in many regards. They entered the fourth quarter leading 46-36 after outscoring Rich South 21-7 in the third quarter.
The Stars (4-1) opened the fourth quarter with a 12-0 run to pull ahead 48-46, and the last 5½ minutes were back and forth.
"Give them credit. They kept playing," Glenbard East coach Scott Miller said. "It was fitting that they beat us on the glass at the last play of the game. We'll keep working. We'll keep getting better, but we've got to rebound better."
In the fourth quarter the Stars had six of their 12 offensive boards, leading directly to 11 points, and Denzel Kimbrough, who scored 23 points, sank three of his six 3-pointers.
The Stars also were in the double bonus the final 5:55, hitting 7 of 12 free throws in the quarter to finish 18 of 29.
Glenbard East committed 6 fourth-quarter turnovers.
"I thought we had a real good stretch coming out at half. And then we didn't take care of the basketball and we left (Kimbrough) open. We knew in our scouting that was the guy that could shoot it," Miller said. "The last two games, we were much better (limiting offensive rebounds), and again too many second-chance points."
Hall wreaked just as much havoc on the Stars.
Over the past five games, Hall has scored 30 points twice, 29, 25 and 24 points. Freshman Mike Finley added 16 points Tuesday with three 3s, including one that tied the game at 58 with 58.6 seconds left.
"I'm just trying to do everything I can to help the team win," Hall said. "If I have to assist and give it to Mike or any shooters in the corner or big men down low or if I have to just take it to the basket, I will."
Hall was scoreless in the first quarter but assisted 3 of the Rams' 4 field goals. He then had 11 points in the second and third quarters and eight in fourth, finishing 10-of-18 shooting with one 3 and 9 for 10 from the free-throw line.
Hall's sixth assist was a drive and dish to Finley for his game-tying 3 before the Stars played for the final shot.
"That's what I've really been pleased with (Hall). Even at the end of the game, he dished to Mike," Miller said. "He's really coming on as a complete player. He's not just a scorer. He'll keep getting better, too."
When the Rams extended their 1-2-2 zone on the final possession, Ritter said he moved Lydon from high post to the baseline. Point guard Darius Juzang drove the lane and fired the ball to Lydon.
"(Hall) is a good player. They played well, but we had too many mental lapses," Ritter said. "We have to be crisp, and we'll get it. They're a well-coached team and they're going to get better as well."