Maine West nips Maine East in OT
District rivalry games usually bring out intensity and tough play. Friday night at Maine West it was no different between the Warriors and Maine East in a District 207 boys basketball clash.
When the final buzzer sounded in overtime, the host Warriors came away with a 63-61 win over the Blue Demons in the Central Suburban North.
Maine West's Sean Collins scored all four of his points in the overtime. Collins gave Maine West the lead at 55-54 by hitting the first of two free throws. With 3:15 left Collins drove the lane and scored on a floater for a 57-54 lead.
Maine East (3-14, 0-5) would cut the gap to 57-56 on two free throws by Shray Patel and a basket by Jonathan Serrano made the score 59-58.
Jared Pearson, who would lead the Warriors (6-10, 3-2) with 24 points and 4 rebounds, would hit two free throws for a 61-58 lead with 1:20 left in the overtime. Dan Kentgen, who scored 13 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, would hit a free throw as did Collins for a 62-58 lead with 1:06 left. Vraj Patel would hit a 3-pointer for the Demons with .03 left.
Maine West came out strong in the first quarter and led 19-5.
"We came out well hitting our shots," said Maine West coach Tom Prokopij. "We ran good plays and we had good looks at the basket but the ball wasn't falling for us in the second quarter."
"In the second quarter we went to a more open style of playing," said Maine East coach Dave Gerson. "We wanted the ball to go through the hands of Shray Patel. He was able to find guys open."
Patel scored 4 of his team-high 15 points in the quarter and Jonathan Serrano added 6 of his 10 points as Maine East cut the Warriors' lead to 26-23 at the break.
The Demons played aggressively with their defense getting loose balls and floor burns to go with it.
"We actually chart floor burns," said Gerson. "What I was most impressed tonight was our rebounding. We outrebounded them (25-23) and that's what kept us in the game."
Pearson and Maine East's Alex George each had strong second halves in keeping the game close.
Pearson scored 17 points in the second half and George scored 12 of his 14 points. George also blocked 3 shots and misdirected a few more attempts.
"I feel I can post up on anybody," said George. "I'm a lot stronger than I look. On defense I learned how to get good position on my defenders. I learned in grade school to watch the offensive player's waist and that helped me learn to defend."
Pearson made two key plays down the stretch in regulation.
Leading 50-49, Pearson scored off a steal by Jacob Riedl for a 52-49 lead. Patel hit two free throws and George a 3 for a 54-52 lead with 1:36 left. Lucas Glaister knocked the ball loose for Maine West. He found Riedl who threw a half-court pass to Pearson, who scored to the game at 54 with 30 seconds left.
"That was a big play for us," said Prokopij.
With 1.2 left and the ball under the Warriors' basket, Maine West was not able to get the ball to fall.
"We came out of the gate hot, but for us the second quarter didn't go so well," said Pearson. "I think we got a little tired because we're trying to get fast starts. At the end of the game I want to take charge. I hate to lose. We just have to play consistent. We know we can play with good teams."