Glenbard West's Phillips comes through in clutch vs. Naperville Central
Like a true senior leader in the clutch, Diallo Phillips wanted the ball in his hands.
And it gets no more clutch than this.
Phillips calmly swished a pair of free throws with 1.2 seconds left in overtime to rally Glenbard West's boys basketball team to Tuesday's 50-49 nonconference road victory over Naperville Central.
The Hilltoppers (14-5) trailed 49-46 with less than a minute to play when Phillips bulled his way for a layup to make it a 1-point game. After Naperville Central (15-6) missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 6.1 seconds left, Phillips again drove to the basket and drew a foul.
After he sank both free throws the Redhawks were unable to get off a final shot.
"We've been in a lot of late-game situations and we just wanted to put together a nice win," Phillips said. "It was really important for us as a team. We really needed to stay together and keep our nerves under control. If we kept our emotions right, I knew we could get the win."
There were nine lead changes and six ties before Glenbard West opened a 37-28 lead with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. Redhawks senior Cam Dougherty, however, scored his team's final 12 points of regulation including a 3-pointer in the waning seconds to send the game to overtime knotted at 43.
The Redhawks extended the momentum into overtime when Chris Conway scored and Kyle Baskin hit a pair of free throws, but Glenbard West sophomore Caden Pierce kept the Hilltoppers close with a 3-pointer. After Michael Wood scored for the Redhawks, Phillips took over.
"In games like this you've got to make big shots," said Naperville Central coach Pete Kramer. "We did about everything we could. We had our breaks and our chances. The effort and execution was great."
Dougherty led all scorers with 20 points while Conway added 15. Phillips scored 13 in a balanced effort for the Hilltoppers that included 9 points from Paxton Warden and 8 points from Pierce.
"We fought through adversity in overtime, and Diallo put us on his shoulders," said Hilltoppers coach Jason Opoka, whose team had lost four of its previous five games. "We didn't put our heads down. We didn't feel sorry for ourselves. We continued to battle and tried to steady the course."