Big finish powers Palatine

 
By Dan Irons
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/19/2014 11:37 PM

The Palatine boys basketball team is no stranger to quick starts.

On Tuesday, the squad zipped out to a 10-0 lead against Elk Grove, only to falter late in that contest and find themselves on the short end of a 69-62 outcome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

With a possible third consecutive loss staring them in the face, Palatine traveled to Schaumburg Friday night to try and right the ship and came away with a hard-earned road win, 51-47 in Mid-Suburban West action.

"It felt good to win away from home," said Palatine senior forward Mike Williams. "We just focused on playing sound defensively … the past couple games we were not doing that, so we came out and were aggressive from the start."

Leading 49-47 with just 10 seconds left in regulation, Williams (13 points) blocked two attempts to tie the game by Schaumburg senior guard Brendan Parker (24 points) and teammate R.J. Smith, then nailed 2 clutch free throws to ice it with 2.6 left on the clock.

The Pirates once again got off to a blistering start as they led 11-5 after the first quarter and that lead ballooned to 22-7 midway through the second.

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Palatine used their full-court press from the opening tip and appeared to cause Schaumburg fits all night long, forcing 20 turnovers (9 in the first half) and enjoyed a 28-16 halftime advantage.

But the Saxons would not go quietly and mounted a furious rally after they fell behind 38-20 with three minutes to play in the third quarter, narrowing the gap to 38-28 heading into to the fourth.

"The guys showed a lot of character not giving up and battling back," said Schaumburg coach Marty Manning. "We struggled early on to make some easy baskets and made a lot of turnovers. It was nice to see the team fight back."

After Palatine senior floor general Chris Macahon (7 points) buried a mid-range jumper to put the Pirates ahead 42-28, the Saxons gave their adversaries a taste of their own medicine and started to utilize a full-court press, sparking a 15-3 run that cut the deficit to 45-43 with just a minute remaining.

The Saxons forced yet another turnover with 17 ticks to play, but they would get no closer as Williams slammed the door on any chance for overtime, turning away both Parker attempts in the paint.

"When they started their comeback, coach just told us to turn up the defensive intensity," said Williams. "So it was great to see that our stop at the end determined the outcome."

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