It's not often teams get the chance to win a championship on their home court.
It's an opportunity Glenbard West's boys basketball team wasn't going to let slip away.
The Hilltoppers claimed the title of their 12th annual Holiday Classic with Saturday's 68-60 victory over Hoffman Estates in Glen Ellyn.
All-tournament honoree Corey Davis poured in a game-high 30 points for Glenbard West (6-6), which led for good after a 13-1 burst to close the first half pushed the Hilltoppers' advantage to 30-19 at the break.
"We felt we were the best team in the tournament so anything less than 4-0 would have been a disappointment," Davis said. "That's the motivation we had. We're just working to be the best we can be by the end of the season."
Hoffman Estates (7-6), a first-year participant in the Holiday Classic, tried to mount a second-half rally, but big buckets by the Hilltoppers kept thwarting the attempts.
Hawks sophomore guard Jorden Thornton, an all-tourney pick who sat much of the first half with foul trouble, scored all 23 of his points in the second half, including a personal 7-0 run to narrow the third-quarter gap to 38-31. Glenbard West, however, responded with 7 straight points -- highlighted by a Will Reedy 3-pointer -- to again extend the advantage.
Hoffman Estates later pulled within 6 points, but that came in the game's final half minute when the Hawks were out of timeouts.
"We're disappointed, but second place isn't something that comes along very often," said Hawks coach Luke Yanule. "I just wish we would have had a better effort defensively. The good news is that even if we had won this, we had higher aspirations than the Christmas tournament. We'll use this to grow as a team."
Three 3-pointers by sophomore Justin Pierce, the Hilltoppers' second all-tourney pick who pitched in 13 points, spurred Glenbard West to an early lead. Jordan Robinson, another all-tourney honoree for the Hawks, tallied 12 points.
"We were 2-6 before this and we felt this tournament was a must-win situation for us," Pierce said. "Second place wasn't an option. We played great together. It feels like we're getting our chemistry together at the right time."
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