Hoffman Estates and Palatine played a close, tense, back and forth contest Friday night.
Until six minutes remained in the fourth quarter, that is.
Host Palatine had just grabbed a 35-33 lead and seemingly the momentum with 6:02 left in the game on a rebound and putback by senior Scott Fife.
That's when the Hawks took over.
Hoffman Estates, led by two big 3-pointers from sophomore guard Jorden Thornton, went on an almost five-minute, 16-0 spurt to put the game away.
The Pirates didn't score again until Fife made another layup at the 1:05 mark as the visiting Hawks won 53-37.
"This game meant a lot to the guys," said Hoffman Estates coach Luke Yanule. "We got punched in the mouth here last year, and they (Palatine) beat us pretty good at our place too."
"We had energy tonight on the offensive and defensive end," said Thornton, "and we executed our offense, especially in the fourth quarter."
It was a hot start in addition to a great finish for Hoffman, especially for 6-foot-3 senior Jordan Robinson.
Robinson had 8 of his game high 22 points and 5 of his game-high 11 rebounds in the first quarter as the Hawks opened up a quick 9-point lead.
Palatine was able to fight back and tied the score early in the third quarter on back-to-back 3s from Dondre Watson and Matt Ulrich, but unfortunately for the home team it was a tough shooting night from beyond the arc the rest of the way.
The Pirates finished 3-of-14 from the 3-point line while the Hawks were 5-for-8.
"We got some good looks," said Thornton, "and I was able to hit some shots late and help our team."
"Defense was the key tonight," added the sophomore. "We were talking out there, something that we didn't do when we lost to Glenbard West (at their holiday tourney)."
The score was tied at 31 to begin the final period, and Robinson put the Hawks on top with a quick basket to start the fourth.
Fife and Chris Macahon scored to put Palatine out in front, and then the Hoffman deluge began.
Trevor Pye (8 points) hit a jumper, Thornton nailed his two long 3's, Robinson had a basket and a couple of free throws, Sabren Burns added a couple of buckets and just like that Hoffman led 47-35.
Palatine managed only the Fife basket on a steal and coast-to-coast lay-in the rest of the way.
"This team has a strong collective character," said Yanule. "We're young but we've got some skilled players, and I'm so proud of our upperclassmen, especially our seniors. They made a commitment to the team in the off-season."
Macahon led Palatine with 15 points, while 6-foot-6 senior Burns added 7 points and 7 rebounds for Hoffman Estates.
"These are great character kids," added Yanule. "They don't ask for anything or expect anything, they just go out and play as hard as they can."