Even as Ethan Schuemer and the rest of the Willowbrook boys basketball team saw Proviso East trim their lead in the fourth quarter, they never panicked.
The Warriors were in familiar territory.
"We've been in that situation before," Schuemer said. "Late in the fourth quarter, when it gets close, we know how to finish games. We know how to keep getting stops."
That experience helped the Warriors claim their 12th straight win, beating the Pirates 64-59 in a West Suburban Gold matchup in Maywood.
"(Proviso East) is really good," Willowbrook coach Chris Perkins said. "We were expecting a dogfight and it came down to the wire. We just made one or two extra plays than they did at the end."
Early on in the fourth quarter, it didn't look like the Warriors (19-1, 6-1) would hang on.
Proviso East opened the fourth quarter on a 13-2 run, taking a 55-54 lead and holding the Warriors without a field goal for the first 5 minutes, 9 seconds of the fourth quarter.
"They were making their run at the start of the fourth quarter. We were a little stagnant and so it's a credit to them," Perkins said. "I was telling the guys, we've been in a lot of close games this year, so we kind of knew how to respond. It wasn't unfamiliar territory for us."
That run lit a fire under the Schuemer and the rest of Willowbrook squad.
Sikander Zafar made a layup with 2:51 to play that gave the Warriors back the lead at 56-55.
On Proviso East's ensuing possession, Schuemer stole the ball and kick-started a fastbreak that ended in an Imon Reynolds layup.
"Throughout the whole year, it's been a team effort," Schuemer said. "Every guy in the lineup can score the basketball. It makes it better to open the floor more, defenders have to close out more."
The Warriors closed the first half strongly. Tied at 20, Willowbrook finished the first half on a 12-2 run and took a 32-22 lead at the break.
Reynolds and Schuemer combined to score 13 of Willowbrooks' 17 points in the second quarter. Schuemer finished with a game-high 24 points and Reynolds added 16.
"Overall, (this game) keeps our momentum going, getting ready for playoffs," Perkins said. "Because you're going to have to win in somebody's gym. It's difficult to come in this gym and get a 'W.'"