The game plan was simple for the Bartlett boys basketball team: slow down the fiery offense of Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division rival South Elgin.
The Storm entered Friday's game at Bartlett scoring 79 points per game but defense won out for the Hawks, who held South Elgin to a season-low in points in a 68-50 win.
The game was decided in the middle quarters when Bartlett (7-1, 1-1) outscored the Storm (3-3, 1-1) 40-21 to take a 53-35 lead entering the fourth quarter. The Hawks' defense helped force 12 turnovers during that time, and South Elgin finished with 25 for the game.
"Coach (Jim Wolfsmith) was telling us before the game their low was 61 points this season," said Bartlett's Ryan DiCanio, who had a game-high 19 points and a team-high 9 rebounds for the Hawks. "We knew they could score, but our goal was to hold them under 60 points and we did a nice job as a team defensively to accomplish that."
DiCanio, who hit 2 3-pointers in the game, had 12 points in the first half as Bartlett took a 31-23 lead into the break after falling behind 14-13 after one quarter.
Kevin Wantroba scored 10 of his 15 points during the second and third quarters including his third trey of the night to open the second half with the Hawks' first double-digit lead at 34-23. About three minutes into the second half, Bartlett gained some distance with a 9-0 run behind 5 points from DiCanio for a 49-30 lead.
South Elgin pulled no closer than 15 the rest of the game, and the Hawks led by as many as 20.
Bartlett showed its depth off the bench as Cal and Tyler Pauletti both contributed 9 points in the effort, and point guard Justin Busch added 8.
"We feel we're a deep team, and we're talented down to the 14th, 15th guy," Wolfsmith said. "I was pretty impressed by the bench. This was a good team win."
Justin Howard (9 points) and Darius Wells (8 points, 7 rebounds) each had 5 points in the first quarter when the Storm grabbed the early lead, but Matthew Smith would be their only player to finish in double-digits for scoring with a team-high 12 points. Jake Amrhein had a game-high 10 rebounds, and Julian Lynch added 7.
"The whole thing was they came in with a great game plan to take away our transition game," said Storm coach Matt Peterson. "Bartlett's a great defensive team, and they did a good job slowing us down."