Wheaton Warrenville South opens with a win
Ben Bastian didn't attempt a shot during the first three quarters on Saturday.
Turns out the Wheaton Warrenville South guard was just biding his time.
Bastian sank four consecutive 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead shot, to lift the Tigers to a 50-45 victory over Joliet Central in the opening round of their own MLK Tournament.
Those were only shots Bastian attempted.
"He can shoot it," WW South coach Mike Healy said. "He hasn't been feeling great, kind of struggling a little bit, so it was nice to see him step up and make those 3-point shots.
"He's a tough kid that makes some big plays for us."
The first came after Ryan Wisneski drilled a 3 to give Joliet Central (8-13) its first lead since the opening minute of the game. The Steelmen, who had won five of their last six games, used a 13-2 run to take the 35-34 lead with 7:47 to go in the fourth quarter.
The two teams proceeded to turn the ball over six straight times before Parker Brown found Bastian open on the left wing for a deep 3 that put the Tigers (11-7) up 37-35 with 5:05 left.
"I wasn't trying to force any shots," Bastian said. "I knew it was going to come eventually, so I was patient and I waited. The time came and I knocked them down."
Bastian was knocked down while taking a charge from Samuel Martin, who was trying to give the Steelmen the lead after the Tigers turned it over following Jacquavious Brandon's game-tying basket at the 4:49 mark.
"I turned it over right before that," Bastian noted. "So I had to step up and get it back."
Bastian proceeded to drain three more 3s, all from the left side of the court and all off assists from Brown, who realized his fellow guard was in rhythm.
"I knew he was hot, so I had to just give him the ball and he was going to make shots," Brown said. "That's what he did.
"He has a good shot. We were just waiting until he started shooting and he did. He went 4 for 4 in a matter of like four minutes."
Bastian's final 3 gave the Tigers a 46-41 cushion with 2:30 remaining.
"We wanted to win so we were going to do whatever we could," Bastian said. "Parker found me, I hit some shots and it worked out in the end."
Indeed, the Steelmen twice cut the lead to 3, but the Tigers did enough to close it out. Brown, who made four straight shots in the first half, made both ends of a 1-and-1 with 4.8 seconds left to cap the scoring. He led all players with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
Kennell Sutton led Joliet Central with 12 points, while Yonatan Algawerash and Tyler Fawcett each tallied 7 points for WW South.