Palatine's defense locks down on Conant
There are lockdown defensive efforts.
Then there's the type of above-and-beyond accomplishment the Palatine defenders put forth Friday night at Conant.
The Pirates led 10-8 midway through the first quarter, then allowed the Cougars only 8 more points the rest of the game in a 54-16 Mid-Suburban West boys basketball victory.
That included keeping Conant scoreless through almost the final 12 minutes of the first half and holding the Cougars to zero points in the second period.
"We stepped up really big on the defensive end tonight," said Pirates senior guard Jonathan Murray. "The guys were able to stop their number 11 (Conant junior guard Devon Ellis). who is their key player."
"I thought we did a good job limiting their (Conant's) offense, and they run it very well," said Palatine coach Eric Millstone. "They did get some goods shots, they just weren't going in."
Ellis actually paced the Cougars into a quick lead with 6 early points, but four first-quarter 3-pointers from Palatine senior Tommy Swanson shot the Pirates to a 10-point lead late in the first.
Then the Palatine defense kicked into high gear in the second quarter as the Pirates outscored Conant 7-0 to take a 27-8 halftime advantage.
"I feel like we just had to come out and do what we had to do," said Swanson. "We knew that JuJu (Palatine 6-foot-7 senior forward Julian Campbell) had an advantage on the inside, so we used that to our advantage."
"We used our whole game plan from the week to come out and get a good win."
Ellis ended the Conant drought with 2 early free throws after halftime, but Campbell scored 12 points in the third period.
And when Campbell hit a long 3-pointer halfway through the third, Palatine held a 35-10 lead.
"(At that point) we just had to stabilize and keep our stance on the defensive end, and limit them to as few points as possible," said Swanson.
Both teams substituted freely in the final period, and Murray took advantage to score 6 points in the fourth.
"It was great to get in there and help out my team," said Murray.
Campbell scored a game-high 18 points, Swanson added 12, while Ellis led Conant with 8 points.
The Pirates also held a big advantage on the boards, although Ellis excelled on the glass for the Cougars with 8 rebounds.
Abaz Karafili scored 3 points in the final stanza for Conant, while Eric Pecson, Dominic Gac, and Jermal Wlliams each connected on fourth-quarter buckets for Palatine.
"It was nice to get a lot of guys in the game and see them all get some playing time," said Millstone, "but we also respect the Conant program so we wanted to finish out the game the right way."