It's the type of win a team can build off.
Fenton's boys basketball team turned defense into offense early and late, ran crucial time off the clock and hit free throws down the stretch. It equaled a fourth straight victory and the Bison's first this season in the Metro Suburban Blue, 66-56 over Wheaton Academy on Friday in Bensenville.
"You can see that we're all buying in finally, working as a team finally, and having everyone come together is what's pushing us," said Fenton senior Bryan Larsen, who led all scorers with 21 points, 19 in the second half.
Wheaton Academy (6-13, 2-4) enjoyed a combined 15 third-quarter points by J.D. Gunn and Michael Callentine to post a 46-43 lead entering the fourth.
Fenton responded with a 13-2 run that featured a pair of 3-pointers from Garrett Focht, another 3 from Larsen and two conversions by Larsen after his own steals. Larsen stole the ball from the Warriors four times in the fourth quarter.
Though Focht was not used to late-game limelight, he "was the spark for us right then and there," Larsen said.
"Actually in warmups I couldn't hit anything," said Focht, a senior guard. "So when I made the first one I was like, OK, it's official, I'm just going to keep shooting."
A Callentine inside basket and two Marcus Bult free throws pulled Wheaton Academy within 56-53 with 3:49 left in the game when Fenton coach Chaz Taft trusted his team to run down the clock. Three times the Warriors nearly forced turnovers before Fenton's Nick Schaub found Javy Sanchez open for a lay-in with 1:17 left.
"We had some chances, there's a few times when the ball's on the floor, it kind of gets away from them, and we don't jump on it or it just kind of bounces in the wrong direction and they get it," said Warriors coach David Osborn.
Larsen stole the ball right back and shortly thereafter Wheaton Academy was called for both a personal foul and a technical foul. Schaub and Larsen made four straight free throws and the Schaub-Sanchez connection worked again for a 64-53 Bison lead with 53 seconds left.
Gunn led Wheaton Academy with 18 points, Bult and Callentine with 9 each. Jimmy Paganis returned from injury for 5 points in his first action since December.
Sanchez scored 11 points and Tyler Santagata, with 2 blocks and a steal in the first quarter, scored 13 points.
"It's just starting all to click," said Taft, in his first year at his alma mater. "I think they're starting to believe in each other."