Glenbard South continues to shine
There are two basketball teams in Glen Ellyn exciting their fans this winter, and although the team on the hill gets most of the notoriety -- and perhaps deservedly so -- the team on the south side of town has been quietly putting together a solid resume of its own.
Friday, Glenbard South ended Elmwood Park's four-game winning streak in impressive fashion, riding a 16-point, 5-rebound, 4-assist performance from 6-foot-5, 200-pound senior Billy Bair to a 63-36 victory in a Metro Suburban Conference crossover game in Glen Ellyn.
Glenbard South (12-5) put the game away with a 24-5 run to close the first half after the Tigers' Fode Bah scored to tie the game at 11-11 with 3:21 remaining in the first quarter.
"If you stop the game at the end of the first quarter, we looked pretty good," said Elmwood Park coach Tony Sylvester, whose team slipped to 8-9. "It's hard because of their size. You try to play man and they throw it over the top or post up. We tried zone and they hit a few outside shots.
"We were battling that first quarter. I was proud of our defensive effort, but their size and their physicality really hurt our offense and our legs were a little tired. We needed to hit some shots and keep pace to keep the game manageable. But that's a good team."
Billy Bair's putback of his own miss late in the first quarter extended Glenbard South's lead to 19-13, and by the time Tim Marks put back a rebound at the first-half horn the lead had swelled to 35-16.
"This is the best team I've been on by far," said Billy Bair, who is headed to Illinois State University next fall to play football. "Everyone on the team is pretty good friends, so we have good chemistry. Football is my favorite sport, but I like basketball because it takes all five guys working together to win."
Glenbard South also got 13 points from Kyle Carli, 9 points from 6-5 junior Charlie Bair and 8 points and 7 rebounds from 6-4 senior Johnny LaPonte
"For the most part this season we've had four guys in double figures in that 12- to 15-point range, but Billy Bair has been our leading scorer," Glenbard South coach Wade Hardtke said. "He's a tough matchup. He's a big kid, a strong kid. He's athletic, bouncy. He can post up or hit the 3-pointer."
However, like any good coach, Hardtke did find some faults with his team.
"We need to tighten up our defense a little," he said. "We have to make sure we're taking care of some of the gaps. We also have to do a better job of valuing possessions. Tonight, we had some unforced turnovers we should really be looking to eliminate at this point."
If they do, they may have a pretty good shot at reaching their goals.
"We want to win 20 games and a regional, and beat Riverside-Brookfield," Billy Bair said.