Another winning blend for Palatine
Perhaps Hoffman Estates coach Luke Yanule said it best.
"They're on a roll. They've really got good chemistry," he said of Palatine, which had just dismantled his Hawks 73-48 in an MSL West game Thursday night at Hoffman Estates.
The "chemistry" formula is working well. The Pirates' sixth straight win, yet another in convincing style, had them jumping ahead 16-0 and 24-4 after the first quarter. The lead got as wide as 34 at 61-27 in the third quarter.
And it's defense as the catalyst in that potent mix for Palatine (17-6, 4-3).
"Our defense took them out of whatever they wanted to do," Palatine coach Eric Millstone said.
So much so that the Hawks (5-12, 0-7) committed 10 first-quarter turnovers while making two baskets.
Every time you turned your head, it seemed there was Palatine's Michael E. Williams (20 points) getting a hoop or R.J. Smith (13) scoring on a nice feed from either Matthew Ulrich or Chris Macahon on a fastbreak after a Hawks turnover. Or else there was sharpshooter Justin Chaney (18 points) hitting from the perimeter.
Palatine scored from anywhere and everywhere in every way in building a 46-20 halftime lead. Williams hit 5 of his 6 first-half shots, as did Smith. In fact, Palatine was 20-of-28 from the floor in the first half.
"The better defense we play, it just gets the offense going. That's when we're at our best," said Ulrich, who was matched up most of the night on high-scoring Jorden Thornton. With Ulrich and Jovone Stricker, Thornton finished with 1 point.
"He's a very good shooter," Ulrich said. "We just wanted to make him take a contested layup instead of an open jumper."
Brandon Hall led Hoffman Estates with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the floor in addition to blocking a shot.
But Palatine owned the boards (26-16) and forced 25 turnovers all told.
"I tip my hat to Palatine," said Yanule. "Now it's back to the drawing board."
For Palatine too.
"We've got to roll up our sleeves and play a good half-court game," said Millstone, casting an eye at the remainder of his MSL West schedule and the MSL being bunched together for postseason play. But he has confidence in his team.
"When we're all on the same page," he noted, "we're playing well."