Andrew Hare's specialty is defense.
As in, he's a strong safety in football as well as the prime defender for the boys basketball team.
OK, so it wasn't the cleanest of games on Wednesday night at Antioch. However, Hare (21 points) and teammate Dan Filippone finished at the foul line and ended Chicago Northside's hoops hopes with a 69-49 regional win.
Hare, like his older sisters, is looking for warmer weather for his college days. He will attend Alabama, but don't look for him on the playing field.
This matchup was actually close most of the way.
"I was disappointed with our patience tonight,'' said Antioch coach Jim White. "But our team is tired. We have some hurt players. We are a scrappy team but in the first half, we were a little lazy."
Hare, a senior, was 10-for-12 from the free throw line. Filippone checked in with 19 points; he was 10-for-10 on foul shots.
"We shot 39 free throws,'' Hare noted. "We knew this was a must-win for us."
Hare was the top scorer (6 points) after one quarter. That didn't last long.
Northside guard Benjamin Rosengard nailed three 3-pointers on the way to 31 points. Yes, he certainly kept his team in the game, and the Antioch lead was 43-35 heading to the final quarter.
White, too, is impressed by Hare's defensive skills.
"He gets so many deflections on defense,'' White said. "He joked tonight that he had a triple-double -- if you added his turnovers. But Andrew is such a good athlete."
It was a Hare 3-pointer that closed the opening quarter with Antioch (12-15) up 13-10.
Hare stole a ball (yes, more defense) and converted at the other end as Antioch opened some room up at 17-10.
The Sequoits' lead reached double figures later in the second quarter. On a Filippone floater, it was 26-17.
Northside cut that margin to 6 before halftime. Branden Gallimore (8 points) made a driving layup before the break, and Antioch's lead was 30-24.
The third quarter swung to the Chicago team. On one of those 32-pointers by Rosengard, the Antioch lead slipped to 30-29.
"At times, this game was painful to watch,'' White admitted. "In the second half, we started to guard better."
Northside lost three players to fouls and Antioch made them pay with the free throws. Filippone made six in a row as the Sequoits pulled away.