Hoffman Estates holds off Palatine
Hoffman Estates' Nick Vuckovic didn't want history to repeat itself.
"Last time we played Palatine we had a 14-0 deficit,," Vuckovic said. "I didn't want that to happen again."
Vuckovic sparked his Hawks to a huge first-half lead. They then watched as Palatine scored 13 points in a row late in the game to pull within one. But Vuckovic banged down a pair of free throws and Palatine missed a trio of 3-pointers as the Hawks held off the Pirates 48-45 Friday in a Mid-Suburban West boys basketball game in Hoffman Estates.
The loss moved Palatine (18-9, 6-3) into second place, one game behind Barrington in the MSL West. Palatine will host Barrington next Friday.
Vuckovic wanted to make sure that his team got off to a fast start. He scored 11 of his 16 points in the first quarter as the Hawks (20-5, 5-4) raced to a 19-4 lead.
"We recalled how we started the last game" Hoffman coach Peter McBride said. "We finally figured it out. We started the game with great defensive effort and energy. It was a pace we were more comfortable at."
Hoffman continued to pour it on as the Hawks led 24-9 midway through the second quarter.
Palatine, playing without Tyler Swierczek who broke his shin last Tuesday, had difficulty all night getting its offense going. The Pirates shot just 4-of-21 in the first half as Hoffman led 28-13 at the break.
Palatine got the lead down to 34-24 late in the third quarter. Hoffman then used the inside play of Yashua Pettis-Taylor, who converted a pair of offensive rebounds into baskets, to hold off the Pirates.
"I just knew we had to apply pressure to them," said Pettis-Taylor, who finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds.
"I was able to get inside and do what I had to do."
Hoffman appeared to have the game in control when the Hawks led 46-32 with 6:47 to play. That's when the Pirates made their move.
Playing a fearless trapping defense, Palatine would force 8 turnovers down the stretch and hold the Hawks to a pair of missed field goals.
Meanwhile, Grant Dersnah (20 points), Sam Millstone (12 points), and Connor May (7 points) got Palatine going on the offensive end. The Pirates rattled off 13 consecutive points and closed to 46-45 with 1:06 left to play on a pair of free throws by Tommy Elter.
After a turnover, Palatine had a chance to get the lead, but Millstone's 3-pointer rimmed out.
Vuckovic hit a pair of free throws with 20.5 seconds to play to make it 48-45. Palatine would have two more chances to tie. But the Pirates missed another 3-pointer, and then after a missed free throw by Hoffman with 7.8 seconds left, the Pirates would have a last-second shot fall short.
"You have to give Hoffman credit for seizing the opportunity and jumping all over us to start the game," Palatine coach Eric Millstone said. "That game was won in the first quarter. I thought we showed a lot of fight in the fourth quarter."