Palatine comes up aces in win over Hoffman Estates
They may just be a pair of juniors in the starting lineup for Palatine's boys basketball team, but Luke Seiffert and Julian Campbell are a pair of aces.
And they're all in.
Seiffert, the razor-sharp point sharp guard, and Campbell, the nimble colossus at center, combined for 42 points Thursday night and helped Palatine hold off a stubborn and gritty Hoffman Estates, 54-47, on the Hawks' court. It helped the Pirates maintain their hold on first place in the Mid-Suburban West.
And they did it when their team needed it most, with plenty of help from 3-point sharpshooter Conner Aikman and defensive-minded Tommy Swanson.
Seiffert's 3-pointer, just when Hoffman had finally shaved the lead under double-digits to start the fourth quarter, was Palatine's statement that it wouldn't be caught. Campbell added 5 points in the period, outmuscling a collapsing crowd around him for two baskets, one on a slick feed from Seiffert, who appreciates having the 6-foot-7, 300-pounder in the post.
"Every point guard needs a target like that," he said through a postgame smile. But he knows where Palatine hangs it hat, on its trademark defense mandated by Eric Millstone and his coaching staff.
"That's what we preach all the time," said the junior who scored 17 points, "especially on the road where it can get crazy."
And it did. With the game seemingly in hand, the Pirates had to withstand a Hoffman (6-12, 0-7) flurry in the final minutes, as Nate Fisher, who stood his ground as best he could against Campbell, and Nahum Smith-Hernandez combined for 12 fourth-quarter points and a trio of 3-pointers. Smith-Hernandez' jumper brought Hoffman within 51-46, before Campbell's press-breaking lay in from Seiffert and his subsequent free throw provided the final margin.
"Luke's our leader," said Millstone and they needed that as, "We knew it was going to be a 32-minute game."
And Campbell, well, "He's becoming a complete player. He's done a great job of opening things up for everyone else."
But Hoffman made the Pirates work to hold on to their share of first. "I was proud of our fire, of our energy," said head coach Luke Yanule. But even he had to yield to the overwhelming presence of Campbell and smarts of Seiffert.
"He's a ton," Yanule said of Campbell, who scored consistently despite double and triple teams. "And I give credit to Seiffert. He controls the game. That big 3 by Seiffert really hurt."
So did that big target Seiffert has.