Deviating from the recipe left a bad taste in the mouths of the Bartlett boys basketball players following a 66-34 loss to Zion-Benton at the Hinkle Holiday Classic at Jacobs Monday morning.
Facing a team with Division-I prospects Milik Yarbrough (6-foot-6) and Admiral Schofield (6-5), Bartlett's goal was to slow cook the Zee-Bees by playing deliberately on offensive, according to coach Jim Wolfsmith's cookbook. That meant eating clock with 5-8 passes per possession before looking for slips, curls, backdoor layups and wide-open, popout 3-pointers.
The Hawks dutifully adhered to the recipe through a half like they were auditioning for a slot on the Food Network. Bartlett finished the second quarter on an 8-2 run to draw within 23-19 at halftime.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, their second half was the basketball equivalent of burnt toast. Zion-Benton (9-1) opened the third quarter on a 10-0 run and outscored Bartlett (8-4) in the period, 21-4. Yarbrough, Schofield and 6-3 senior guard Mubarak Bakr each scored 5 points in the quarter to help the Zee-Bees improve to 2-0 in Pool IV. Bartlett slipped to 1-1.
"We had the recipe, but the kids stopped following the recipe and we couldn't get them back on track," Wolfsmith said. "In the third quarter we had 3 straight bad offensive possessions where we shot the ball within 2 passes, and they did a great job of converting, which they didn't do in the second quarter. That's not the kind of recipe we had wanted. Once they got up 12-15 points, the style we wanted to play is not ideal for coming back against that team."
Yarbrough -- an undeclared senior who said he will choose in the spring between offers from Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, DePaul and Auburn -- opened the second half with a three-point play. Following a Bartlett empty possession, 6-7, 200-pound Zion-Benton senior Jerome Davis was fouled on a putback and sank both free throws.
A Bartlett missed 3-pointer at one end led to a made 3-pointer by Schofield at the other. Wolfsmith called a timeout, but the avalanche had begun with 8 straight Zion-Benton points.
"We just decided to wake up and start playing our game, getting up and down the floor, rebounding, getting easy buckets," said Yarbrough, whose team won the second half 43-15. "We took advantage of our post men, Trenton Curry (6-3), Jerome Davis (6-7) and Chris Moragne (6-9). We just tried to get the ball into them. Once they get flowing and (the defense) starts closing in on them, the ball comes back out and we start knocking down shots."
Zion-Benton made 13 of 22 second-half shots. Meanwhile, Bartlett shot 0 for 7 from the field in the third quarter, 4 of 11 in the fourth quarter.
"In the second half early shots, dumb turnovers and dumb passes got our guys into trouble and just hurt us a lot," said Bartlett guard Justin Busch. "They made that quick run and we never got back into after that."
Junior forward Jordon Anderson scored a team-high 8 points and Busch added 7 points for Bartlett, which completes pool play against Crystal Lake South (9-1) on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
Yarbrough led all scorers with 19 points to go with his 4 rebounds. Schofield finished with 12 points, Davis had 8 points and 8 rebounds and Curry scored 8 points for Zion-Benton, which can clinch Pool IV with a win over Marian Central on Thursday at 3 p.m.