Glenbard West's boys basketball team might not be able to defend its West Suburban Silver title, but the Hilltoppers still can have a say in determining the champion.
They put a dent in Hinsdale Central's chances on Friday, handing the Red Devils their first league loss with a 68-63 victory in Glen Ellyn.
The loss drops Hinsdale Central (14-8, 8-1) into a first-place tie with Oak Park with three games to play -- including a road trip to face the Huskies on Tuesday. For the Hilltoppers (10-13, 2-8), Friday's win broke a four-game losing streak and provided some much-needed confidence.
"After this win our confidence will be built and we'll keep moving forward," said Hilltoppers senior guard Chris Langan, who knocked down six 3-pointers while scoring a game-high 24 points. "We'll keep playing our hardest and hopefully keep getting wins. The team is definitely headed in the right direction."
Langan's fourth 3-pointer three minutes into the second quarter gave Glenbard West the lead for good, but it wasn't easy closing out the Red Devils. They kept it a one-possession game until the final seconds despite Langan and Connor Mullins making four straight free throws with under 20 seconds to play.
Hinsdale Central trailed 66-63 with 2.5 seconds left after Mullins' free throws, but the Red Devils were whistled for over-and-back on their inbounds pass to give the ball back to the Hilltoppers. The call was doubly disappointing for the Red Devils because Trevor Hamilton, called for the violation, turned and swished what would have been the tying 3-pointer.
Glenbard West wrapped up the victory when sophomore Evan Taylor made two free throws with 0.4 seconds left.
"Every time we needed a stop we didn't get it, and every time we needed a basket we didn't get it," said Red Devils coach Nick Latorre. "It's tough but they deserved it and earned it."
The teams combined for 71 free throws as the Red Devils' Jack Hoiberg, who led his team with 22 points, made 11 of 12. Mullins, who scored 19 points, hit 12 of 16 from the line.
Hamilton scored 14 points while Glenbard West put four players in double figures. Alex Pihlstrom converted 3 three-point plays and scored 11 points. Taylor added 10 points.
"With the exception of a couple of games all year, the kids have given us a great effort," said Hilltoppers coach Tim Hoder. "We've just had some nights where we've had trouble scoring. Having Chris make some shots early was huge because it gets us rolling a little bit."
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