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Glen Ellyn, 02/15/13--Glenbard West's Sean Jenner blocks the shot of Hinsdale Central's Rigas Pappas. Glenbard West High School hosted Hinsdale Central High School in boys basketball Friday evening. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Forget about focusing on the next opponent.
Hinsdale Central coach Nick Latorre doesn’t want his players to look beyond their next possession.
“That’s truly our focus, is trying to play as well as we can on every single possession and then moving on to the next possession,” Latorre said. “We just want to execute and play as well as we can.”
Two days after securing a conference title in a home win over West Suburban Silver rival York, the Red Devils (18-5, 11-1) hit the road and won 56-44 at Glenbard West for their 12th consecutive win.
“It’s been fun. It’s been a good run,” Latorre said. “But I still think we can play better.”
Central led 12-9 after a quarter and 28-17 at halftime, with guard Alec Hutcherson burying a trio of three-pointers and guard Chase Hamilton striking twice from long range.
“It all starts on the defensive end and we came out strong in the first couple of minutes, and kept rolling from there,” Red Devils center Matt Rafferty said. “It all starts by playing as one fist on the defensive end.”
Rafferty scored 14 of his game-high 21 points after halftime, and teammate Rigas Pappas pounded the offensive boards for a pair of put-backs that had Central up 36-19 in the third quarter. Central led 42-23 when Jared Eck drove the baseline and found Brian Owens behind the arc for a trey as the Red Devils carried a 46-29 cushion into the final quarter.
Defensively, Latorre knew what to expect from Glenbard West (12-11, 4-7), particularly from Hilltoppers guards like Dikiria Washington and Keith Hayes.
“We talked about their penetration. They were a little quicker than us so we had to focus on trying to stay in front of the ball,” Latorre said. “For the most part we did a good job of that and our bigs did a good job of helping, and not over-helping.”
“Our defense has been our calling card in 2013.”
Hutcherson finished with nine points, Pappas netted seven, and Hamilton finished with eight points. Hayes led Glenbard West with 13 points.
The Red Devils also managed to avoid an emotional letdown after clinching the Silver Division two days prior.
“I was worried. We talked about maintaining playing at a high level,” Latorre said. “At this level you can’t turn it on and off. You have to play at a high level all the time and for the most part our kids played hard.
“Our defense was solid and our offense was inconsistent, but I thought it was a good win on the road in the conference.”
Pick up your local Pioneer Press newspaper on Thursday to read more about the Hinsdale Central boys basketball team.