The young Bartlett boys basketball team shook host South Elgin 50-38 on Friday once it shook the butterflies.
Bartlett coach Jim Wolfmsith sent three juniors and a sophomore to play alongside senior Drew Martin in front of a loud, raucous rivalry crowd for the first time in their varsity careers. The nerves showed early on, like when junior Ben Tompson missed his first 3-pointer badly.
Tompson's next was on target, though, as were many more. The 6-foot guard finished with a team high 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting and junior Ben Fisher added 12 points and 7 rebounds to lift the Hawks in the Upstate Eight Valley.
"You're not sure what to expect but we were confident," Tompson said of his first varsity South Elgin game. "Our defense was really what did it."
Bartlett (4-6, 2-0) used its defense, including a 1-3-1 trap headed by the 6-foot-2 Fisher, to spark 6 South Elgin turnovers in the second quarter. That helped the Hawks to close the half on a 10-1 run and take a 26-15 lead.
"We caused a lot of turnovers with our pressure and that led to easier baskets at the other end and we were able to get separation in the second quarter," Wolfsmith said.
Fisher poured in 10 third-quarter points, thanks to good positioning in the low block, to keep it a 10-point game.
Meanwhile, South Elgin (4-3, 1-1) struggled to find any offensive rhythm. They shot 6 of 24 in the first half. Logan Atkins led the Storm with 9 points, but he was draped by Bartlett defenders whenever he entered the lane and limited to 3-of-13 shooting.
"We weren't prepared as a team and when they went out on the court, they didn't do what they were supposed to do," first-year South Elgin coach Brett Johnson said. "They didn't execute our offense. We had a couple of possessions late in the fourth quarter -- four or five passes and we get a good shot -- but we didn't do that consistently enough. And when you score 30 or 40 points in a game, you're not going to win."
Bartlett led by at least 10 points throughout the fourth quarter. The Storm finished with 17 turnovers.
Senior Collin Uveges had 7 points and junior David Binion (5 rebounds) and junior center Christopher Hankins each contributed 6 points for South Elgin.
Winning a rivalry game in a loud gym was good preparation for the upcoming Jacobs Tournament. The Hawks begin play in the 5-day tournament against Sullivan Saturday at 6 p.m.