Initially the going was tough. Eventually, IC Catholic and Glenbard South got going.
After a bumpy first half Saturday in Glen Ellyn the Metro Suburban Blue foes picked it up, a physical contest IC Catholic won 58-55.
"The rhythm was a little off with the routine, and it showed a little bit," said ICCP coach T.J. Tyrrell, addressing the late-week snow and a senior retreat.
Glenbard South's Brandon Whiteside, who averages around 20 points, had none in a first half the Raiders (10-14, 6-4) led 20-16. Part of that was due to defense by the Knights' Alex Meurer, himself contained to 4 first-half points, same as ICCP's other top scorer, guard Kevin Cheng, hounded by Glenbard South's Tavion Keith.
At the end Whiteside led all scorers with 21, Meurer led the Knights with 15 and Cheng scored 12 -- and both teams got mileage from key role players such as ICCP brothers Nico and Dominic Gaudio and Glenbard South's Tristan Blake and Matt LaMontagna, who laced three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
"Knowing it's my last home game I knew I had to step up and push my teammates," said LaMontagna, a senior guard.
Glenbard South needed it, because after a third quarter of nine lead changes and four ties ICCP (16-8, 6-4) reeled off an 11-0 run to lead 43-33 at 4:09 of the fourth quarter.
Whiteside and LaMontagna led Glenbard South nearly all the way back.
"We started off to a slow start, only like 20 points at halftime and I just wanted to come out, be aggressive," Whiteside said.
He was joined in that effort by rugged Nico Gaudio. The senior made all six of his fourth-quarter free throws and twice grabbed rebounds off Glenbard South misses. He finished with 12 points and 9 rebounds, much of that action in the fourth quarter.
"At the end of the game, you never know who's going to get fouled, so it's everyone's role to knock down free throws at the end," said Gaudio, who relished his role of "being a bruiser, to knock people around a little bit."
Gaudio's two free throws with 9.3 seconds left gave the Knights a 58-53 lead. Whiteside drove for a layup with five seconds left, and after a rare pair of missed free throws by ICCP -- 16 of 21 in the fourth quarter, 24 of 30 for the game -- Whiteside just missed a 25-footer from the top of the key to tie.
"I was proud of the way we played," said Raiders coach Wade Hardtke. "I thought we were gritty all night long. That's probably the most physical we've played all season, so it was good to see that. I just wish we would have come out on the other end of it."