ROCKFORD -- After splitting four tight games at Sycamore's Strombom tournament, the South Elgin boys basketball team finally experienced what it's like to play with a sizable lead.
The Storm appeared well on their well to a comfortable victory Saturday night as they built a 39-18 advantage over Rockford Guilford early in the third quarter.
However, the host Vikings caught fire from beyond the arc, draining seven 3-pointers to narrow the gap to 48-42.
South Elgin regrouped nicely in the fourth quarter and pulled away once again to secure the 75-61 nonconference win.
"They kept making shots, but we maintained our composure and continued to play our way," said South Elgin coach Brett Johnson. "That's good for them, they need to learn how to play through and stop a team's run without getting flustered."
"It's different trying to hold the lead rather than coming from behind," said Storm junior center Chris Hankins, who collected 14 points and 9 rebounds. "You don't expect a team to go out and hit a bunch of threes to cut the lead that fast."
South Elgin (3-2) had five players finish in double figures paced by guard Collin Uveges, who scored all 16 points in the second half after sitting for most of the first half in foul trouble.
Noah Rohr added 13 points and pulled down 8 rebounds as the Storm enjoyed a 40-29 edge on the glass and scored 16 points off offensive rebounds. David Binion and CJ Bradford combined for 23 points and 10 rebounds.
"Practice-wise the kids know to go to the offensive glass," Johnson said. "You get opportunities for putbacks that way and it makes the game fun and exciting, especially when you're aggressive."
The Storm led 11-6 after one quarter and maintained momentum as Bradford tallied 7 straight points and Binion closed out the half with consecutive baskets for a 31-15 lead.
"We fought through screens and played good defense," Hankins said. "On the offensive side we did a lot of back door stuff and got open for easy baskets."
Nick Phillips (22 points) hit four of his seven 3-pointers in the third quarter and Dorian Jones (18 points) added two more as Guilford (1-6) mounted a charge.
Hankins scored on a drive and assisted on a Bradford layup to stem the tide. Rohr followed with a 3-pointer and follow-up hoop as the Storm maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
"I thought we got better tonight and we're building some momentum," Johnson said. "Now we have to go back and prepare for Glenbard East next Friday."