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Glenbrook North's Ethan Lutz slips by Glenbard East defenders. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media

Glenbard East has its basketball version of string theory. Nothing is exactly random on the court, and everything connects.

The Rams made decisive scoring plays at the end of the first three quarters that proved a subtle though telling difference in their 56-46 win over Glenbrook North in a first-round Proviso West Holiday tournament game Wednesday in Hillside.

Glenbard East (8-2) advances to play Maine South in the second round Thursday.

The Rams’ balance and depth helped offset an impressive performance by 6-8 senior forward Andrew McAuliffe. Despite early foul trouble, the Davidson-recruit posted game-high totals of 22 points and eight rebounds.

No other Glenbrook North scorer had more than six points. “We have a lot of great shooters on our team, but our shots didn’t fall today,” McAuliffe said.

Glenbard East’s Marvin Grant-Clark and Mike Kjeldsen drilled three-pointers at the first and second quarter respectively. The shots created momentum for the Rams and helped deflate the Spartans. Grant-Clark’s shot marked a 17-8 burst in the final four minutes of the first quarter.

Kjeldsen’s off-balance 22-footer put the Rams (8-2) up 30-21 at the break. Grant-Clark also scored on a drive in the final seconds that ended the third quarter that helped nullify a Glenbrook North run.

“We make a point of emphasis of ending quarters strong, and you saw that today, it was important because they all connected together in helping us spread the lead,” Glenbard East coach Scott Miller said.

Glenbard East guard Trahon Harvey scored a team-best 16 points. He struggled from the field, shooting just 25 percent (4-for-16). He also registered six assists and four steals. He scored six points in the second quarter.

The Rams’ perimter attack is their strength. “Our inside game is still a work-in-progress,” Miller said. Junior guard Jaron Hall scored 14 points to complement Harvey. His three-pointer from the top of the key provided the Rams’ largest lead at 37-23. McAuliffe responded by scoring eight points during a 12-3 Glenbrook North rally.

Glenbrook North (6-5) never got closer than five points. Harvey and Hall combined to go 8-for-8 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter. The Ram also dominated the offensive glass in the second half, securing ten of their 12 offensive rebounds. “Coach really stressed us crashing the glass,” Harvey said.

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