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Proviso East's Sterling Brown (21) jumps for a loose ball against Hinsdale Central Feb. 20, 2013 in the West Suburban Conference crossover first-place game in Hinsdale. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Proviso East senior Branden Jenkins heard the call against Hinsdale Central and answered with the best game of his career.
With Pirates’ star Sterling Brown in foul trouble for most of the game, the 6-4 Jenkins came off the bench and poured in 21 points to lead No. 4 Proviso East to a 66-59 road win over No. 23 Hinsdale Central in a West Suburban crossover between the two conference champs.
“My coach (Donnie Boyce) called me off the bench to score and be aggressive,” Jenkins said. “You just always have to be ready. I had to step up and be a leader.”
Hinsdale Central (18-6) started the game doing exactly what it needed to get a win against Proviso East (23-3).
The Red Devils continually beat the vaunted Pirates’ press and attacked the basket. That helped them take a 16-13 lead after one quarter of play.
Proviso East took it to another gear in the second quarter. The Pirates shot 11-for-16 from the floor in the second and scored 27 points in the period for a 40-26 halftime lead.
But Hinsdale Central wouldn’t go away. The Red Devils used a variety of weapons to pull within 50-44 heading to the fourth and got the lead down to 52-50 after a pair of free throws by Brian Owens (13 points) with 5:58 remaining in the fourth.
Jevon Carter (nine points) knocked down a big three-pointer to push the Proviso East advantage to 57-52 with 4:51 left. The Pirates struggled from the line in the fourth, shooting 7-for-14, but hit enough to hold on for the win.
“It’s a home team, a hostile crowd,” said Proviso East senior guard Paris Lee, who finished with 17 points. “We had to match their intensity and when we did that the game was basically in our hands.”
Jenkins finished the night shooting 8-for-16 and had buzzer-beating three pointers to end the second and third quarters.
Sophomore Matt Rafferty led Hinsdale Central in the loss with 17 points and 15 rebounds. While he wasn’t happy with the final outcome, Rafferty was pleased with how the Red Devils performed early on against the press.
“Set ball screens and go North/South, our guards did a good job of that in the first quarter,” he said. “(In the second) we were a little back on our feet on defense and it went from there.”