Addison Trail makes it 2 for 2 in tournament crowns
Only a month into the season and already Addison Trail's boys basketball team owns two tournament titles.
It's no wonder the Blazers are enjoying their best start in years.
They claimed the championship of their very own pre-holiday tournament with Wednesday's 55-54 overtime win over visiting Naperville Central.
Jaavion Bradley and Jack Kalbas knocked down a pair of overtime free throws and Eric Grygo put back a huge bucket to push the Blazers (8-1) to victory. Naperville Central came within 45-44 after Matthew Meier hit 2 of 3 free-throw attempts with 17.8 seconds left, and then it got the ball back following an Addison Trail turnover.
The Redhawks (7-4), though, missed two shots under the basket in the waning seconds before Matt Gontarek snared a rebound to seal the Blazers' title.
"We're starting off strong," Gontarek said. "From the beginning of the season, we wanted to start off 3-0 at Elmwood Park, and we did that. We won our first title. Coach (Brendan Lyons) always said we were going to win our second holiday title, and we got that done."
Considering the margin never went beyond 3 points in the second half -- a half featuring five ties and four lead changes -- overtime seemed fitting. Bradley knocked down a 3-pointer to give Addison Trail a 39-37 lead late in the fourth quarter, but Harrison Hallstrom, who tallied 10 points, scored in the final minute to send the game to the extra period.
"I thought we executed pretty well all night," said Redhawks coach Pete Kramer. "We had a great look at the end. It just didn't go in. We did some good things, but we've got some things to work on."
Naperville Central stormed to leads of 9-1 and 12-4 as Nate Dahl scored 9 of his 13 points in the first quarter. Meier led all scorers with 15 points.
Gontarek, who had 10 points, scored to give Addison Trail a 20-19 halftime lead, and then tournament MVP Taylor White got a steal and basket at the end of the third quarter to put the Blazers on top 30-29. Grygo led the Blazers with 14 points, including 8 points after the third quarter.
"We got a stop when we needed to, we got a rebound when we needed to," Lyons said. "We'll take them any way we get it. It's not the prettiest thing sometimes, but we've had a series of games like this where when we needed to kind of close the door, we have."
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