Verge makes himself at home against Addison Trail
Alonzo Verge Jr. made sure his home debut was a memorable one.
Willowbrook's highly touted sophomore was also introduced to the District 88 rivalry with Addison Trail, and he responded with a game-high 22 points while leading the Warriors to Friday's 56-51 West Suburban Gold win over the visiting Blazers in Villa Park.
Verge and junior Kevin Miller scored 15 straight fourth-quarter points for Willowbrook (4-1, 1-0), which turned a 38-35 deficit after three quarters into a 5-point advantage.
It was the largest lead by either team since the Warriors let a 10-point second-quarter advantage slip away.
"We just had to stay focused," said Verge, who's averaged 21 points a game. "I think we have potential. We're probably not the best team, but we play hard and we're going to hustle."
The fourth of Miller's five 3-pointers put Willowbrook ahead 42-38 early in the fourth quarter but Addison Trail (3-1, 0-1) responded with 5 straight points from the line to take its final lead of 43-42 with four minutes left. An 8-3 Willowbrook run, highlighted by Miller and Verge 3-pointers, gave the Warriors the lead for good.
"We felt like the second quarter, and really for the majority of the second half, was kind of at a possession-by-possession tempo," said Addison Trail coach Brendan Lyons. "Which is kind of what we wanted."
A ragged first half saw Willowbrook surge to a 21-11 lead when Verge scored to open the second quarter. A flurry of fouls and 14 first-half free throws, however, allowed the Blazers to claim a 22-21 lead. Sophomore Jack Kalbas nailed a 3-pointer off the bench to push Addison Trail to a 27-26 halftime lead.
Taylor White made 11 of 12 free throws and paced Addison Trail with 16 points. Kyle Rushing scored 9 points for Willowbrook while Eric Grygo tallied 8 points off the bench for the Blazers.
"We made some plays down the stretch to pull it out," said Willowbrook coach Chris Perkins. "They're starting to get confidence and their IQ is starting to get better because we're in these games that are coming down to the wire. I told the kids this is going to benefit us later in the year when it gets toward playoffs. They're getting this experience early."
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