Palatine gets hot, downs Elk Grove
It was an interesting transformation to watch.
Palatine's boys basketball team went from the team that missed its first 13 shots Wednesday night against Elk Grove to the team that scored the first 15 points of the second half, rallying from 7 down for a 34-24 lead after three quarters.
The Pirates maintained the hot hand into the fourth quarter and cruised to a 52-35 win over an Elk Grove team that looked like it was going to blow out the Pirates in the first half.
Julian Campbell, all 6-foot-7 of wide-bodied finesse, after missing his first four shots, hit 5 of 7 in the third -- quarter spree. That included Luke Seiffert's two hoops, one of them a 3-pointer, and his alley-oop lob to Campbell for a hoop.
The Pirates found Campbell all night long, all 30 points worth, as Brandon Hernandez, Connor Aikman and sparkplug guard Josh Rivera all got in the fun.
They clamped down on defense, too.
Brandon Burns, who had torched the Pirates for 12 first-half points, only had one second-half shot attempt. And the Pirates dominated the boards, outrebounding the shorter Grens (0-2) 12-4 in the second half, many of them Campbell putbacks.
Most importantly, the Pirates found their focus in the second half, something for which head coach Eric Millstone was grateful.
"I was more concerned with our lack of energy in the first half," he said.
The Pirates clearly found it in the second half.
"It was a completely different (Palatine) team that came out in the second half," said Grenadiers coach Nick Oraham, whose club was 12 of 37 for the game from the floor and had no answer for Campbell.
As for the 6-7 senior, it was pretty simple.
"We knew we had to finish," in the second half, he said, deflecting the credit for his big night to his teammates' focus on defense and ability to get him the ball in scoring position, particularly guards Seiffert, Rivera and Hernandez.
Burns paced Elk Grove with 12 points on his hot first-half shooting, but the Grens were just 1 of 12 in the third quarter, 1 of 8 from beyond the arch.
"You're going to have dry spells. There's going to be ebbs and flows," said Millstone.
But as long as the Pirates are energized, he'll wait for the ebbs to become to become flows.