With Thanksgiving tournaments out of the way, Bartlett's boys basketball team was able to play in front of the home crowd for the first time this season and the Hawks won in dominating fashion over Elgin, 72-56, in an Upstate Eight Conference crossover game Thursday night.
The Hawks (5-0) were also able to get interim coach Phil Church the first win of his career due to a planned rest for head coach Jim Wolfsmith after oral surgery.
Playing ahead almost the entire game, Bartlett was able to get the ball into the hands of the player with the best look, and for most of the night that player was Ryan DiCanio.
Finishing the game and leading all scorers with 31 points while adding 3 rebounds and an assist, DiCanio continued his scorching start to the season, where he is averaging over 20 points a game. With his success, DiCanio and his coaches know more people will start to pay attention, especially coaches.
"We've talked to him, teams know him now," Church said. "He's in coach's living rooms. He's developing and evolving his game and that's going to be the biggest thing for him. We talked to him, at some point there's going to be a defender stronger than him and we've got to keep working with him."
Surrounded by teammates and seniors Kevin Wantroba and Justin Busch doesn't hurt either, as both were able to feed the ball to DiCanio when he was open, whether it was down low or from the outside. DiCanio only missed 5 shots from the field and afterward was thankful for the looks he was given.
"I have my teammates to thank for those easy looks," DiCanio said. "Justin is probably one of the best point guards I've ever played with; he's found me every time I've been open."
For the Maroons (1-4), who were coming off a victory in their last game, it was their defensive play that caused the game to get out of hand late.
"If there was only one thing wrong we can solve that," Elgin coach Mike Sitter said. "We gave up second shots, we gave up jumpers to their jump shooters, we let their slashers slash. It was an all-around poor defensive effort."
Ahead 11-5 early in the first quarter, Elgin looked to be controlling the floor until a timeout called by Bartlett slowed the pace down and the Maroons couldn't recover, eventually ending the period down 20-15.
Leading Elgin was guard Isaiah Butler, who had 19 points and 3 rebounds, but Sitter knows that he could have done more.
"(Butler) had too many jump shots. He's the best player on the floor and he didn't play like it," said Sitter. "He needs to get to the rim instead of settling for jump shots, but it was nice to see him out there battling with a badly sprained ankle. Hopefully when it heals he'll be able to be a little bit more dynamic for us."
Desmond Sanders added 9 points for the Maroons, all 3-pointers, and grabbed 4 boards in the first half, but only had 2 points the rest of the way. Desmond Douglas also scored in double digits with 10 points.
Elgin will travel to the Ridgewood shootout to play Carmel on Sunday, while the Hawks will host West Chicago Saturday afternoon in the first UEC Valley game of the season.