Slow start. Fast and furious finish.
The Sandburg Eagles managed to pull out a 60-58 boys basketball victory over the Hinsdale South Hornets thanks to some clutch shooting down the stretch and solid defense.
Hinsdale South (1-1) led for most of the game thanks to some consistent shooting, particularly in the second and third quarter. Junior guard Phil George led the Hornets with 16 points. Twelve came off 3-point shots. Senior guard Joe Petrak scored 15 after a sluggish start. He made 5-of-8 free throws. Center Brock Benson threw his weight around, scoring 14 points.
The Hornets made 18-of-32 shots in the first three quarters and went 3-for-5 early in the fourth to build a 55-46 lead with just under 6 minutes left.
After a Sandburg timeout, however, the Hornets went ice cold. They missed their last six field goals and went 3-for-7 from the free-throw line, allowing the Eagles to claw their way back in.
"We had some great looks, but they just didn't fall for us down the stretch," Hinsdale South coach Vince Doran said.
The Eagles (1-1) were inconsistent much of the night. They scored in bunches, but had trouble making a major run because of defensive lapses and mental miscues. They had no answer for Benson down in the paint and they surrendered several open looks from the perimeter, most notably to George and Petrak.
Junior guard Nick Lenherer led the Eagles with 18 points. He was very steady throughout the game, scoring nine points in the first and second half. Senior guard Jason Viane was right behind Lenherer with 14 points.
For Viane, the comeback win was particularly sweet. He transferred to Sandburg from Hinsdale South. He scored seven of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, including the clinching 3-pointer to put the Eagles up 60-57 with under a minute left.
Junior forward Ken Payonk also finished in double digits with 10 points.
"Down nine on their home court, the kids really came through for us," Sandburg coach Todd Allen said. "I was proud of how we came back. The kids did a real good job turning up the pressure defensively."
The Eagles will play Hinsdale Central on Saturday to close out their tournament at Hinsdale South. The Hornets will play Benet Academy.