Bolingbrook defeats Hinsdale South in overtime
It took a special individual effort to end Hinsdale South's perfect start to the 2019-20 season.
Scoring 27 of his 30 points in the second half and overtime, Darius Burford led Bolingbrook to a 55-52 win over the Hornets in the semifinals of the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic on Monday.
In falling to 11-1 on the winter, Hinsdale South will wrap up the five-day event with a matchup against Schaumburg in the third-place game Tuesday.
"I used to play AAU with Darius," said Hinsdale South guard Billy Durkin, who led the Hornets with 20 points. "He keeps improving. He is a really great player. But I'm super proud of my teammates. Even though we lost, it's heads up. We will move into tomorrow and then conference next week.
"This was a really great test for us. When you lose to a team as good as Bolingbrook, it just shows that we have to keep going. A nice reality check for us."
The Hornets nearly overcame the stiff challenge, as they led 23-18 at halftime and 40-37 at the end of three quarters. They were still clinging to a 2-point advantage in the closing stages, thanks in large part to a three-point play by Durkin, before Burford knotted the score at 49 with a driving layup with 25 seconds left.
Hinsdale South had a couple of good looks rim out in the final seconds.
In overtime Burford scored all six of his team's points, including knocking down four free throws in the last 45 seconds. The Hornets were limited to a James Ruzicka free throw and a basket by Durkin.
"That is what we always do, we always fight," Burford said. "We have been in so many battles with each other. I can't take full responsibility, my teammates did a great job putting me in a position to score. They count on me and thankfully I was able to step up."
Aaron Tims has a strong game on both ends of the floor for the Hornets, finishing with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Ruzicka also checked into double figures with 10 points.
"For the most part, we took away their transition," said Hinsdale South Coach Brett Moore, who held the Raiders to far below their tournament-leading average of 76 points. "We have had some success doing that to other teams. The kids battled all night. I probably wore them out, I didn't go deep tonight. I basically played five guys the whole second half.
"The guys have busted their butts the whole year and we were trying to get our 12th win in 12 games. The guys didn't back down. We talked about now we have to start a new streak."
Bolingbrook (10-3) plays York in the tournament championship.