Storm, Palatine close with win over Wheeling
Brandon Storm wants to be an accountant.
The bottom line, therefore, of a story about Storm and his Palatine boys basketball teammates has to be near the top: Storm played like an all-Mid Suburban League player in the Pirates' 69-57 defeat of host Wheeling on Friday night.
"Got the good news about all-conference in a text message from my coach (Eric Millstone) a couple of days ago," the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder said after scoring 15 points, including a trio of 3-pointers in the final game of the season for both squads.
Storm also heaved the prettiest assist of the night, one-handing a rebound and then, in midair, shot-putting the ball to a sprinting Luke Seiffert (10 points) in a frenetic third quarter, when the teams combined for 44 points. Thirty-one seconds later Storm delivered another assist, this time to 6-7 senior forward Julian Campbell (game-high 18 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks).
"One of Brandon's best games of the season, definitely," said Pirates coach Eric Millstone, whose club held a 31-21 lead at the half but got outscored 25-19 by a resolved bunch of Wildcats in the third quarter.
"Brandon made good decisions. I liked what he and others did for us in the fourth quarter; we executed well against Wheeling's trap."
Palatine (9-6) needed to slow the pace down at the outset of the final frame, or risk allowing the hosts to continue the momentum they had established with a 14-6 spurt at the start of the third quarter.
"I challenged the guys at halftime," Wildcats coach Tom Antosz, sporting a snappy red bow tie, said. "I wanted more energy, more effort. We got that."
But Palatine seized control right away in the fourth quarter, tallying the first 9 points and later securing a 63-48 advantage on a bucket by Campbell.
"Game of runs, huh?" said Antosz, who started five seniors on Wheeling's Senior Night. "We made ours; Palatine countered.
"I'm proud of these guys. How much they improved in just six weeks impressed me and pleased me. I wish we had another 10 weeks with this group."
Senior Jaden Terrell paced Wheeling (4-9) with 17 points, 12 coming in the third quarter. The final 3? Dazzling. The 6-7 guard dribbled out the final seconds of the stanza in 3-point real estate, created an opening for himself and then netted a buzzer-beating triple.
Wheeling trailed only 50-46 after 24 minutes.
"A lead against Wheeling is never safe," Millstone said. "That's a team that's capable of scoring in waves, in bunches."
The fourth Pirate to reach double figures in scoring was 6-4 sophomore forward Tyler Swierczek (11 points).
Wheeling senior guard Solomon Hudson finished with 9 points, including a dunk in the third quarter. On the Wildcats' next possession, Hudson provided the assist on a trey from senior guard Robert Bucko (8 points).