All hands on deck leads to opening win for Palatine
Palatine's boys basketball team found firm footing Tuesday at the Ed Molitor Thanksgiving Classic in Palatine.
The Pirates scored the game's first 7 points and never looked back as they rolled past Waubonsie Valley 58-24 in the season opener for both teams.
For Palatine and coach Eric Millstone, it was a different way to begin a season.
The last two years, the Pirates have played short-handed thanks to how deep the football had ventured in the state playoffs.
"The last two years resembled more of a pickup game for us at this time," Millstone said. "To get a full week and half to two weeks, we felt we were more prepared to go into this game than we were the last two years."
Johnny O'Shea, one of this football players who got the late start for basketball, said he was ready for the early start.
"It was definitely really different out there tonight," O'Shea said. "I am glad we are back here earlier. We bonded very well together last year and we are ready for a good season this year."
Lamon Berry, along with O'Shea, started for the Pirates last season. He says the combination of four returning starters and having the football players back has the Pirates starting with high expectations for this season.
"It was a little weird last year when they were gone," Berry said. "But having them back early is great. We were able to jell and get us off to a good start."
It was actually a great start for the Pirates.
With Berry (14 points) and Luke Garrett (10 points) leading the charge, Palatine broke out to a 14-2 advantage.
And the Pirates kept pouring it on.
Even a third timeout by Waubonsie coach Jason Mead just three minutes into the third quarter could not slow down the Pirates, who converted 76 percent (16-of-21) in the first half.
That led to a 37-10 Pirates lead at intermission.
"They took us out of our game," said Mead, whose team turned the ball over 20 times. "We are young, we are inexperienced and we are going to get better."
Millstone, whose team was in the same position a year ago, said his team was ready to play Tuesday.
"We did what we needed to do in the first game," Millstone said. "It was great to be able to get everyone to play today. I think the guys are feeling good about themselves right now. But we are not going to be defined by what we do in the first game of the season."
O'Shea chipped in 8 points and 8 rebounds for Palatine while Cortez Hogans and Ben Storm both had 6 points.
Derrien Porter led Waubonsie Valley with 10 points and Eric Cannon added 6.