Palatine's comeback falls short against Tinley Park
Tinley Park had just a little too much speed and athleticism for Palatine Monday in the opening round of the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York in Elmhurst Monday.
The Titans used that speed to pull ahead early and then survived multiple comeback attempts by Palatine as Tinley Park held off the Pirates 51-47.
"It is hard to replicate that athleticism in practice," Palatine coach Eric Millstone said. "I thought once we got used to how the game was to go, I thought our kids put their noses in there and battled pretty hard."
Palatine (9-3), which had won seven in a row coming into the game, will meet Hinsdale South in the consolation bracket at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.
Palatine fell behind by as many as 9 points in the first quarter. But the Pirates battled back and closed to within 1 on two occasions. The Pirates had a chance to tie in the final 15 seconds but turned the ball over before they could get a shot off.
"That is the most athletic team we have seen so far," Millstone said of Tinley Park. "And they played hard. When you are athletic and play hard that is a pretty good combination. "
Tinley Park (7-6), which got transfers in this season from Brother Rice and Westinghouse, came out shooting well. The Titans hit 7 of their first 9 shots including 3-for-3 outside the arc as they built a 17-9 lead after the first quarter.
But the Pirates turned up the defensive pressure and forced a trio of turnovers. That led to a free throw by Grant Dersnah and a pair of baskets by Tommy Elter as Palatine cut the lead to 17-14 in the second quarter.
Tinley Park responded with 7 unanswered points as the Titans cruised to a 26-18 halftime advantage.
Palatine came out and was scrappy in the second half. The Pirates scored the first 6 points to begin the half and cut the lead to 26-24 on a steal and a dunk by Dersnah.
"We did the same thing last Wednesday night," said Dersnah, who finished with 13 points. "We fell behind 9-0 right away, but we were able to fight back. We got the lead then, but we couldn't get it today."
Tinley Park surged ahead again, taking a 37-29 with 1:05 left in the third quarter.
Palatine chipped away at that lead thanks to the outside shooting of Connor May (10 points). It was May's 3-pointer with 3:02 left that cut the lead to 44-43.
The Pirates got the lead down to 46-45 on a basket by Tyler Swierczek with 1:37 left. After a Tinley Park free throw, the Pirates had a chance to tie or take the lead. But an errant pass ended the comeback.
"We knew we had to come out and find all the way to the end," said Swierczek, who finished with 14 points. "We knew we were going to have to fight especially with their athleticism. We just have to bounce back tomorrow."
Sam Millstone added 6 points and 3 assists for Palatine.