Balance suits Palatine against Richmond-Burton

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/5/2018 9:24 PM

Palatine's New Year's resolution must have been about having better balance.

The Pirates' boys basketball team had four players in double figures and had eight different players score in their 68-55 win over visiting Richmond-Burton in the opening round of the Lake Zurich tournament.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"That is what we have been looking for the last couple of weeks," said Palatine coach Eric Millstone, whose team went 2-2 at the York tournament last week. "We like to have more guys stepping up when their number is called. That is very good production from our bench and our starters. It's nice that we don't have to rely on one guy."

Cortez Hogans led Palatine (10-5) with 15 points, while Lamon Berry had 13 points, Ben Storm 12 and Johnny O'Shea 10 points and 8 rebounds. Freshman Julian Campbell came off the bench to score 8 points with 5 rebounds, and Luke Garret had 5 points.

"It feels good to have a lot of people on our team who can score," O'Shea said. "The past holiday tournaments we have been scoring a lot. But we have to tighten up our defense."

Despite allowing 55 points to Richmond-Burton (7-6), the Pirates did play good defense at times. They forced 18 turnovers, including 10 in the first half to help Palatine to a 31-26 lead at the break.

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"We just still need to play better defense," Hogans said. "But we were still happy with our offense. We don't care who scores, just so we can get the win."

It was like a Vegas slot machine in the first half as the teams traded 7-point runs.

Palatine broke from 6-6 tie to lead 13-6. Richmond then scored 7 unanswered points to tie the game at 13. Palatine then close out the first quarter with 7 straight points to lead 20-13 after the first quarter.

Campbell had a huge second quarter for Palatine. The 6-foot-6 post player scored all 8 of his points in the period to help steady the Pirates.

"My teammates were just getting the ball to me," Campbell said. "They were helping with the plays to get me open. The game is a lot faster than I am used to, but I am getting used to it now."

The Pirates really got their offensive effort rolling in the second half thanks to the outside shooting of Berry and Storm. Both nailed a pair of 3s in the second half. That opened up the inside for Hogans, who scored 11 of his points in the second half.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

With all that working, the Pirates opened up a 48-36 lead after three quarters. Palatine then went on a 10-5 run to blow the game open and lead 58-41 with 4:46 to play.

"I have been working on my shot more," said Storm, who had a season-high four 3s. "When I was open I felt confident."

Berry was also solid with his shooting and has been a consistent scorer for the Pirates all season.

"We knew we could score against these guys," Berry said. "Everybody was scoring well today. We just need to step up our defense."

Millstone was pleased with his team's offensive output. But the veteran coach is concerned that the up-and-down play that the Pirates have been playing the past two weeks will hurt his team, which is tied for the MSL West lead, when conference play resumes next week.

"I think the last couple of games we have got into a shootout mentality," Millstone said. "We have to erase that. In our conference, you don't win games that way. You have to go down and dig your heels in and get stops."

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