West Chicago falters in fourth quarter
West Chicago and DeKalb traded shots like champs in the third quarter of Monday's Class 4A Hinsdale South boys basketball regional quarterfinal.
Then came the fourth.
After the Wildcats' Jordan Wilkins and DeKalb's Matt Montavon scored a combined 27 of the teams' 52 third-quarter points, No. 13 seed DeKalb broke off an 11-0 run leading to a 68-55 Barbs victory to end No. 20 West Chicago's season.
"Our energy level just didn't match the energy level of our opponent to start off the fourth quarter, and that was it," said West Chicago coach Bill Recchia.
"We're just two or three possessions away from winning that ballgame, making it an entire different ballgame. Steps forward," he said.
DeKalb (17-12) blanked the Wildcats nearly five full minutes into the fourth quarter to go up 63-46, as West Chicago (9-17) started 0 for 6 from the floor and committed 3 of its otherwise minuscule 7 turnovers.
DeKalb's scoring run began with Michael Albert's three-point play and ended on an inside basket by Michael Vilet, who scored 14 points with a season-high 14 rebounds. The Barbs grabbed 13 offensive rebounds and 35 overall compared with West Chicago's 20 rebounds.
"In some games it's really hurt us," DeKalb coach Al Biancalana said of board battles. "We just haven't been able to be physical enough at the point of attack, but tonight we were."
Both teams varied defenses from straight zone to man-to-man to box-and-1. Time and again in the third quarter West Chicago's Wilkins and Jason Gimre and DeKalb's Montavon evaded pressure.
"I knew what we had to do on the offensive end. I knew we needed shots to go in," said Wilkins, who scored 13 of his 18 points in the third quarter.
Montavon was more than up for the challenge. Camped along the left baseline he drilled four 3-pointers and scored 14 of his 21 points.
"I knew my team was going to pass the ball around and reverse it, so I know I've got to be ready, shot-ready," Montavon said.
West Chicago's all-time leader in 3-pointers, Gimre scored 19 points with five 3s for a program-record 98 this season. Isaac Nelson added 11 points for the Wildcats, who graduate only senior guards Gimre and Jeremy Belingon.
"The teammates and the coaches, there was nothing more I could have asked for," Gimre said. "They made me the best I could be and helped me understand my potential, so it was awesome."