Prepared Palatine pushes past Schaumburg
Palatine came into Saturday's Mid-Suburban West boys basketball game as prepared as a team could be.
The host Pirates played that way, defeating Schaumburg 55-46 to keep pace with West division leader Conant, the Pirates' next opponent.
Ask coach Eric Millstone, and he says all the credit goes to the scout team comprised of Matt Garner, Hunter Lindell, Dylan Tapia, Thomas Nalley, Malik Harding and Mike Hilmer.
None of those players were involved in the scoring but their work in practice helped get the starters and rotational subs ready for the Saxons.
"We had a really good week of preparation," Millstone said. "The scout team did a real good job of running Schaumburg's stuff."
It's a good thing, too, because starter Johnny O'Shea was ill at home and didn't suit up for the Pirates (15-8, 4-2).
In his place was Charlie Van Dyke, making his first start since the football players worked their way into basketball shape.
"Charlie is our best shooter," Millstone said.
Van Dyke and Matt Mayer led the Pirates with 11 points each.
All of Van Dyke's points came in the first half.
Palatine shot 15-of-22 from the field in the first half and led 35-23 at halftime.
"We owe a lot to the scout team," Van Dyke said echoing his coach's sentiments. "They are a lot of the reason we won tonight.
"It's all about penetration. Get it inside and kick it out, which (Matt) Ulrich and (Jovone) Stricker did well at. Their mentality is to score. If they see someone rotate inside (on defense), they kick it out."
When Van Dyke wasn't scoring from the outside, Mayer was either finding his way to an open spot along the baseline for an easy basket or getting to the foul line for free throws.
When a defender rotated to help out when either Stricker or Ulrich drove the lane, Mayer found himself free along the baseline.
He responded with 3 field goals and 5-of-6 from the foul line.
"Really, the credit should go to Matt and Jovone," Mayer said. "When the baseline defenders help out, and we can drift to the basket."
Palatine came close to putting the game away in the third quarter, but Schaumburg (5-16, 2-4) fought back.
A 10-4 run to open the third quarter stretched the Pirates' lead to 45-27 with 3:31 left in the quarter.
Schaumburg chipped away, and by the end of the quarter, the Saxons had narrowed the margin to the same 12-points as halftime, 49-37.
Palatine converted 4 of 7 free throws in the fourth quarter.
Schaumburg scored the final 7 points of the game to cut the final margin to nine.
Schaumburg's Kenneth Travis led all scorers with 14 points and teammate Kameron Powell scored 13.
The Saxons played the final 1:50 of the first half and the entire second half without Jason Schoo, who suffered an apparent recurrence of a kneecap injury that kept him out of Schaumburg's previous six games.
"I thought we came out flat, and Palatine was ready to go," said Schaumburg coach Wade Heisler. "We missed some shots and let that carry over on defense. It's tough to make up ground against a good team like Palatine. We've got to keep improving."