Wheaton Warrenville South overcame a sluggish first half in picking up its first DuPage Valley Conference boys basketball win of the season Friday.
The Tigers, despite finishing with only 3 field goals in the first two quarters, picked up their game offensively in the second half during a 53-48 victory at Glenbard East.
"We knew we had to attack the basket, get to the line and make our free throws," Wheaton Warrenville South junior point guard Keishawn Watson said. "That gave us a lot of confidence and helped our shooting rhythm."
Wheaton Warrenville South didn't have a made field goal until 47 seconds left in the first quarter when Brian Summers knocked down a 3-pointer near the Glenbard East student section, giving his team its first lead of the night at 8-7.
The Tigers built on an 18-17 halftime lead by opening the third quarter with an 8-2 run that started with a pull-up jumper by Watson, who scored six of his 11 points during that stretch.
Glenbard East senior JaRon Hill, who led the Rams with a game-high 23 points, kept his team close with a baseline floater, followed by an assist to Patrick Peterkin on an inbounds pass, and then a 3-pointer that cut the Tigers' lead to 26-24 with 3:05 left in the third quarter.
"JaRon's our guy, but we just have to get some more scoring around him," Glenbard East coach Scott Miller said. "That's been a struggle all season getting balanced scoring. It's something we'll continue to work on."
Wheaton Warrenville South senior Aidan Hernandez scored the next four points for the Tigers, and then a 3-pointer from the top of the key by Matt Kienzle put his team up 33-26 heading into the fourth quarter.
Hernandez, who led his team with 22 points, scored three times on the press break in the game's final three minutes, twice off assists by Joe Metzger and one off a pass from Kienzle.
"The first half, we didn't really shoot the ball well," Kienzle said. "In the second half we were really looking for layups. We were screening better and getting looks inside."
Hill cut the Tigers lead to 49-42 when he was fouled at the top of the key and made all three of his free-throw attempts.
The Rams trimmed the deficit down to 52-46 with 22.9 seconds left as Hill knocked down a baseline 3-pointer while being fouled by Summers in the process.
Hill's subsequent free throw was as close as Glenbard East got the rest of the way as Watson sealed the game by making 1 of 2 free-throw attempts with 16.9 seconds left.