What a prognosticator, that Wade Hardtke.
The Glenbard South boys basketball coach warned his players Friday's game at Wheaton Academy would become a free-throw contest. The Raiders won that aspect and with it the Metro Suburban Blue game, 57-48 in West Chicago.
Extending a 37-35 point lead after three quarters, Glenbard South (3-4, 2-0) made 18 of 28 free throws by three players -- Hardtke's son, Cole, Kevin Enright and Brandon Whiteside, who made the Raiders' sole fourth-quarter basket while canning 9 of 12 from the line.
"We challenged Brandon a little bit at halftime and I thought coming out in the second half he did a great job of getting to the rim and kind of getting that free-throw brigade going for us," Wade Hardtke said.
"He wanted me to finish through the contact and get fouled and finish strong," said Whiteside, who scored 15 of his game-high 22 points after halftime.
"We wanted to slow the game down because we knew Wheaton Academy wants to run and get up a lot of 3s. We want to slow the game down and get fouled," Whiteside said.
Mission accomplished, on several fronts. Wheaton Academy (5-2, 1-1) missed six straight fourth-quarter free throws while committing 16 fourth-quarter fouls. J.D. Gunn and Sebastian Pares grabbed 11 and 7 rebounds, respectively, but the Warriors committed 16 turnovers. Glenbard South committed a minuscule 4.
"The way the game is played is based off of mistakes, and the team that makes the most mistakes is going to lose, and that's what happened tonight. Our fundamentals weren't there," said Warriors guard Jayston Williams, who scored a team-high 12 points.
Glenbard South started quickly, leading 16-9 after one quarter. Wheaton Academy pulled within 26-21 at halftime despite 10 first-half turnovers. Raiders guard Tavion Keith finished with 4 steals and 9 points -- a "sparkplug," Wade Hardtke called him.
"I knew my role was to come into the game and make some turnovers," Keith said. "I just wanted to get up in their face and make it difficult for them."
Wheaton Academy's Marcus Bult scored all 10 of his points in the third quarter to force ties at 33 and at 35. Williams converted a three-point play to get the Warriors within 39-38 with 7:43 to play, but Glenbard South went on a 10-0 run the next five minutes.
"They pressured us a lot in the game, so I think the pressure got to us," said Wheaton Academy coach Steve Thonn. "And they made a lot of their free throws down the stretch and we didn't make too many. We kind of lost it there in the fourth quarter."