The Bartlett boys basketball team made it close early in the fourth quarter, but South Elgin senior Vince Miszkiewicz, junior Drake Montgomery and the Storm were on a mission in Friday's 71-61 road victory.
After Bartlett pulled within 47-45, South Elgin erupted with an 11-2 run over a 2:15 span to take a 58-47 lead with 3:55 left.
Montgomery and Miszkiewicz, who each finished with a team-best 19 points, played important roles in the decisive push. Miszkiewicz scored the first and last baskets while Montgomery contributed an alley-oop layup from Noah Rohr's inbound pass. South Elgin junior Jace Warrick added fuel with a 3-pointer from the corner that staked the Storm to a 9-point lead.
The Upstate Eight Valley win for South Elgin (6-1, 1-1) snapped a 4-game losing streak against rival Bartlett (3-6, 1-1), which ended the Storm's season last March with a 65-60 overtime victory.
"This is great. We haven't won here in like three years, I think," Montgomery said. "To finally get a win under coach Johnson, his first win, feels good."
It was Bartlett's third game without leading scorer Ben Tompson, who has been in a cast since he rolled his ankle badly in a 62-59 win at Notre Dame on Dec. 2.
The Hawks looked discombobulated during South Elgin's decisive fourth-quarter stretch. They made it hard on themselves by turning the ball over three times and missing 5 straights shots. Overall, they shot 17 percent from 3-point range (3 of 19).
"We missed a lot of easy shots and we certainly struggled shooting the outside jumper, even if it was a good look," Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith said. "You can't win a game against a good team, even on your home floor, if you shoot poorly and you give up threes to their shooters."
Bartlett led 32-29 at halftime but the Storm took a 45-40 lead to the fourth quarter, thanks in large part to the 3-point shooting of Rohr. He scored 9 of his 14 points in the period, including three straight 3-pointers.
Johnson, whose team lost all three matchups against Bartlett last year in his first season as South Elgin's coach, called it a team victory because of the way his team followed its assignments.
"They executed the press breakers correctly and were smart with their decision making," Johnson said, "and that made those runs possible because we didn't get flustered. We didn't get confused about what we were supposed to do. So they did a great job of making sure they made the right pass, the correct pass, find the open guy and get the easy buckets and the layups and the wide-open shots. That's how you win games, when you get good looks like you're supposed to."
Senior guard Tomas Vikonis and junior forward Garrett Jurina led Bartlett with 13 points apiece while Ben Fisher added 12 points.