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Bartlett turns back South Elgin
By Seth Hancock | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 1/26/2013 9:34 PM

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Bartlett had been in the same position before.

The Hawks built up an early double-digit lead only to see it slip away, and once again Bartlett was able to pull away in the end as the Hawks defeated visiting rival South Elgin 48-36 in Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division boys basketball action on Saturday night at Bartlett.

After one quarter, Bartlett (18-6, 7-2) led 16-6 but the Storm (5-15, 0-9) rallied to pull within 1, 20-19, by halftime behind a 7-point period from Ryne Lundy, and Matthew Smith opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer for the first South Elgin lead at 22-20.

“I’m a little tired of that familiar script,” said Hawks’ coach Jim Wolfsmith. “Give South Elgin a lot of credit though. They did a good job pounding the ball inside in the second quarter, and they play hard all the time.”

That would be the only lead of the game for the Storm, but the Hawks were clinging to just a 30-28 lead heading into the fourth before Lance Whitaker stepped up scoring 10 of his game-high 27 points in the period.

Whitaker had a hot start hitting three 3-pointers and tallying 11 points in the first quarter but was held to just 6 points over the next two quarters. He tallied 6 points during a 13-0 run to start the fourth which put the Hawks ahead 43-28, and he later added a pair of free throws for Bartlett’s largest lead at 46-30.

“(Whitaker) made some good plays for them,” Storm coach Chaz Taft said. “In the fourth, one of our guys was playing out of position and he took advantage.”

South Elgin did not score in the fourth quarter until a putback by Robert Grant with 1:51 left on the clock. Grant had a team-high 15 points, and he and Lundy both grabbed a game-high 8 rebounds.

Matt McClure added 8 points for the Storm, which had four freshmen playing including two starters, Smith and Tyler Hankins.

“We have a lot of inexperience playing four freshmen,” said Taft. “But they’re learning and getting better every day.”

Mitch Reid had 8 points and Jon Moss hit a pair of 3s for 6 points for the Hawks, who also outrebounded the Storm 34-28.

The Hawks were coming off a 67-49 loss at Waubonsie Valley and had given up over 60 points three straight games.

“The one thing I told the kids after that loss was that we needed to reestablish our defense,” Wolfsmith said. “We talked about that in practice, and it was nice to see them allow just 36 points today.”