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Whitaker carries Bartlett past rival South Elgin

01/26/2013, 9:30pm CST
By Scott Miller

Like it has done so many times this year, Bartlett jumped out to a big lead early and lost it, only to rally back in the second half for a 48-36 win over visiting rival South Elgin on Saturday.

Lance Whitaker

Bartlett followed a familiar script on Saturday. Like they have done so many times this year, the Hawks jumped out to a big lead early and lost it, only to rally back in the second half for a 48-36 win over visiting rival South Elgin in Upstate Eight Valley Division action.

Lance Whitaker had a game-high 27 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter to lead Bartlett.

Whitaker got Bartlett off to a great start with three three-pointers in the first quarter. He had 15 points in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Bartlett led 20-8 early in the second quarter, but went scoreless the final six minutes of the first half as South Elgin pulled to within 20-19 at the break. The Storm took its only lead of the game at 22-20 when freshman Matt Smith drained a three-pointer on the first possession of the second half.

Mitch Reid finally broke the Hawks' scoring drought when he cut down the lane to take a pass off an inbound play and scored on a layup, tying the game back up at 22-22.

The Hawks (18-6, 7-2) took the lead back for good 27-26 on a Justin Busch free throw with 2:12 left in the third quarter. Jon Moss followed that up with a three-pointer.

The Hawks scored the first 12 points of the fourth quarter as Whitaker took over by taking the ball strong to the basket. He had three driving layups and was 4-of-5 from the free throw line in the final period.

"We seem to fall into this pattern where we come out shooting the ball well, but then we just fall into the jump shooting mode instead of looking to go inside," said Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith. "I think we finally started being more patient in that third quarter and got back running the offense and getting to the basket. Lance played a big part in that and by the fourth quarter we were starting to wear them down."

The Hawks defense held South Elgin (5-15, 0-9) scoreless the first six minutes of the fourth quarter.

"A big goal for us tonight was re-establishing our defensive focus," said Wolfsmith. "We had been holding teams in the 40s most of the season, but the last three games we had given up over 60. Tonight we had much more defensive intensity."

Robert Grant had 15 points to lead South Elgin in scoring.

"We have a lot of inexperience and it showed up in the fourth quarter," said South Elgin coach Chaz Taft. "We had four freshman on the floor at one point.  It's a great group of kids. I'm real happy with the rotation I have right now. They are playing hard and getting better every day. All they need is just to gain some varsity experience and they will be fine." 

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