Glenbard West storms back to grab win
The holidays are over, but Glenbard West still had an item on its wish list.
It can now cross that item off now.
A 33-point performance in the fourth quarter pushed the Hilltoppers to a 61-53 victory Friday night over visiting Proviso West and give the victors their first West Suburban Conference Silver boys basketball win of the season.
"It's real exciting. We found another gear tonight," said sophomore Evan Taylor, who finished with 15 points. "We definitely needed a conference win. We've had two real close conference games that we lost by three points each. We feel we can win in conference."
Glenbard West (8-8, 1-4) made the most of its free-throw opportunities, hitting 32 of 47, including 24 of 30 in the fourth quarter. Connor Mullins nailed a game-high 26 points, including hitting 14 free throws in the final eight minutes.
The Panthers (8-5, 1-2) committed just one turnover during the first half but coughed up the ball four times during the third and seven times for the second half. Proviso West led just 39-28 after 24 minutes after leading by as much as 16 points.
Mullins and Taylor made consecutive layups with no one around them, and then Alex Pihlstrom sank a free throw to cut the advantage to 11.
Proviso West led by 12 with just under six minutes left in the game on consecutive baskets by Robert Hill, who led his team with 16 points.
Then the Hilltoppers started to methodically chip away at the Panthers' lead and make their move to get the lead. A foul and technical foul put Mullins on the free-throw line with 4:32 left in the game, and he made three of four shots. Two seconds later, he was back on the line and made another free throw. Chris Langan then converted a turnover into a basket to pull Glenbard West to 44-43.
With under three minutes left Mullins sank two free throws to give his team the lead at 45-44 and Glenbard West stayed in control the rest of the way, outscoring the Panthers 16-9.
Hilltoppers coach Tim Hoder said a switch in defense was a big help to the team.
"We got stops when we went to man. We have played a lot of zone lately and tonight we rebounded better out of man than in zone," he said.
Proviso West led in rebounds at the half 19-14. But Glenbard West led 20-14 in the final two quarters. Taylor finished with 10. Ethan Larson had 7.
Hoder was happy his team put one in the win column in league play. But he is looking at the big picture.
"We take a ton of pride in our league. The conference games mean a lot. But we want the kids to play hard every night," he said.