Palatine took full advantage of homecourt advantage in beating Grayslake Central 65-31 in the first round of the Class 4A regional action Monday.
The No. 13-seed Pirates broke out to a 10-0 lead and never looked back in beating the 18th-seeded Rams, who closed out the season at 11-16.
"We wanted to get out to a good start," said Palatine coach Eric Millstone. "We knew what they were capable of when they beat a good Grayslake North team last Thursday."
Jake Moertl and Cortez Hogans made sure the Pirates stayed on course in the first quarter.
Hogans started the scoring with a putback basket. Moertel hit the first of his four 3s. John O'Shea had a putback, and Moertl followed with another 3.
Tony Crews, who led Grayslake Central with 10 points, hit a 3 before Hogans scored the final basket of the quarter for a 12-3 lead.
"Hats off to Palatine," said Rams coach Kosta Kougias. "The held on to the momentum they had. We had some opportunities early but we couldn't take advantage of them. They were too good of a team."
The Pirates kept it going in the second quarter as O'Shea (16 points, 9 rebounds) scored 9 points , Lamon Berry had 7 of his 9 and Hogans 4 of his 11 (to go with a team-high 10 rebounds) in building a 32-14 halftime advantage.
Moertl and Hogans keyed an 11-4 spurt to start the third quarter to build a 43-18 lead with 4:33 left.
"We had to play our game," said Moertl, who scored 14 points. "We had played our hardest defense and it carried over to the offense. We closed out our plays well."
Next up for the 12-18 Pirates will be No. 2 seed Conant, which has beaten Palatine twice this year.
"We know what Conant's going to bring," said Millstone, "but that doesn't make it any easier. They have a lot of good pieces to their team. We're going to have to play a great game against a great team. That's they way it's supposed to be at this time of the year."
Hogans know what it will take to beat the Cougars.
"We have to play hard in order to win," said Hogans. "We have to be able to stop (Jimmy) Sotos and control their big men. We have to crash the boards like we did tonight. We have to prevent second-chance shots. We have to keep the momentum we had tonight for tomorrow's game."
Longtime fans feel that the play-in game that the Pirates played Monday helps in this setting.
"We got the first-game jitters out of the way by playing tonight," said Moertl. "We've played them well both times, but the scores don't show it. We're just going to have to play our game and see where it takes us."