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Bartlett's Whitaker lights up Palatine

01/21/2013, 9:47pm CST
By By Rick Armstrong rarmstrong@stmedianetwork.com

Bartlett's Lance Whitaker had a career-high 35 points Monday in a 72-65 win against Palatine in the third-place game at WW South Tournament.

Bartlett's Lance Whitaker (right) looks to the basket as Palatine's Greg Grana tries to block his path Monday in Wheaton. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media

He may not have had fresh legs, but you couldn’t tell.

Bartlett senior Lance Whitaker exploded for a career-high 35 points Monday to lead the Hawks to a 72-65 victory over Palatine in the third-place game at the inaugural Wheaton Warrenville South Martin Luther King Tournament.

“We had a real physical game (in a 62-43 semifinal loss) with Oswego but I was able to find my rhythm,” Whitaker said. “We didn’t want to lose two in a row.”

Whitaker scored his team’s first 12 points of the second half, finished with 14 in the third quarter and helped seal the decision with four straight free throws in the final 2:13.

His baskets came on nice post moves down low, mid-range jumpers and three three-pointers, including one with time winding down in the third that broke a 48-48 tie.

“We know when he gets in a streak like that he’s unstoppable,” said Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith, whose team climbs to 17-5 and rebounded after having its seven-game win streak halted in the semis.

“Amazingly enough, he was battling fatigue. He logged a lot of minutes and he was defending a pretty good player in (Roosevelt Smart) on the other end.”

Smart had a team-high 14 points for Palatine, which falls to 12-10. Six-foot-five Josh Baldus added 13 points, Chris Macahon 12 and Andy Macahon 10 for the Pirates.

Bartlett got 10 from Jon Moss and nine from Justin Busch, who drew a key charging foul in the final minute to help stifle a Palatine comeback bid.

Whitaker, a 6-4 UIC recruit, added 11 rebounds for a double-double and tied Dan Joiner for the second most points scored in a game in school history. Anthony Maestranzi and Marc Little hold the record with 38.

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