Glenbard South's boys basketball team cleaned up its act at the right time.
Hosting IC Catholic Prep, the Raiders committed 14 first-half turnovers and 22 through three quarters but threw it away just once in the fourth quarter. At that point Glenbard South paraded to the foul line, hitting 16 of 23 fourth-quarter free throws to win the Metro Suburban Blue contest 64-57 on Friday in Glen Ellyn.
"I think we started slowing the ball down and not turning the ball over," said Raiders junior guard Brandon Whiteside, who likes Fridays. His 29 points, including 12 of 15 on free throws, eclipsed his prior personal high of 18 points on Dec. 9.
"They were calling a lot of fouls that we didn't think were fouls, but we just kept on taking it to the basket," Whiteside said. "We eventually got more fouls than they did and we made more free throws, and that's how we got the win."
IC Catholic (7-2, 2-2) assuredly didn't agree on all foul calls, but the Knights had their own turnover problem. They lost the ball 15 times in the first half, then tightened it up to 3 over the last 16 minutes. The Knights turned it over four times in the first three minutes, and that fever, unfortunately, was catching.
"I thought in that first half we were extremely careless with the ball," said Glenbard South coach Wade Hardtke, whose Raiders improved to 4-5 and 3-1 in the Metro Suburban Blue. "It didn't get a whole lot better in the second half, but it certainly did get better in the fourth quarter. That was key."
ICCP rallied from a 14-2 deficit out of the gate, and again from a 35-24 halftime disparity. The Knights took their first lead, 42-39 with two minutes left in the third quarter, but an uncontested Whiteside 3-pointer tied the score 42-42 entering the fourth.
"It was a very different game," Hardtke said.
ICCP led 47-33 on a 3 by 11-point scorer Tony Gaudio, and the score was tied 50-50 on a runner by Knights forward Austin Reed, who scored a team-high 23 points.
Whiteside followed with a long 2, and as the Knights went cold Glenbard South's Charlie Bair, Kevin Enright and Whiteside made free throws for a 59-50 Raiders lead with 48.5 seconds to play. Bair scored 15 points with 14 rebounds.
A late Reed flurry had ICCP within 62-57 with 13.3 seconds left, but Whiteside and Enright sealed the win from the foul line.
"We just couldn't get it together down the stretch, probably the last four minutes I think," said Knights coach T.J. Tyrrell. "After battling through a poor first half, fighting back, we just couldn't pull it together."