Boys basketball: Palatine keeps MSL West frontrunner status in win over Hoffman
After beating Barrington last week to pull into a first-place tie in the Mid-Suburban West, Palatine knew it had to keep control of its own destiny as it hosted an energetic Hoffman Estates team Thursday night.
"It's one of those things we talked about was getting control of our own fate, but there's still two other teams (Barrington and Fremd who entered Thursday night's action a game behind in the standings at 3-2) that can say the same thing," Palatine coach Eric Millstone said.
"So all we need to worry about is just the game that's in front of us."
Millstone's unit alleviated those worries by getting the lead early and sailing away to a 57-32 win that kept them on top in the MSL West (15-6, 5-1).
"That's what coach has been preaching to us all season and sooner we got through our first five games (of MSL West play) we knew it was basically a 5-game (divisional) season," Palatine senior swingman Tyler Swierczek said.
"We knew that we had to come out and bring it."
Swierczek (team-high 16 points) gave the Pirates the lead for good when he drove inside for his first basket of the contest with 4:30 left in opening quarter of play.
It propelled the home team to a 12-0 run that had them ahead 17-5 heading into the second.
The lead grew to 34-16 at halftime as Swierczek added 8 more points in the final 4:01 of the half.
Junior center Connor May (15 points, 9 rebounds) and senior point guard Sam Millstone (14 points) paced Palatine in the third by combining for 10 of the Pirates 19 points.
Millstone scored 6 on a pair of threes and May got a couple of field goals inside, giving Palatine a 53-24 advantage heading into the final frame.
"I thought tonight we came out (and) did a good job. Did what we wanted to do offensively and got some really good possessions and that's not always easy to do against Hoffman because Pete's (Hoffman Estates head coach Peter McBride) got those guys playing well. So it was a good win for us," Millstone said.
Hoffman's 6-9 senior center D.J. Wallace's game-high 18 points on 8-9 shooting from the floor was the lone bright spot for a unit that shot 15-44 (29%) overall.
The Hawks dropped to 10-10 overall and 0-6 in the West.
Swierczek gave special thanks to Palatine's scout team for their assistance in their preparation for Hoffman.
"In practice, our scout team was very effective and they gave us a really good look and that if we were able to move the ball that things would end (up) falling into our hands, so we had to execute that when it came to game time and we were able to do that."