This game had doom written all over it for Willowbrook’s boys basketball team.
Faced with a potential loss to District 88 rival Addison Trail, however, the Warriors overcame everything.
Rallying from a double-digit deficit, Willowbrook pulled out a 45-43 West Suburban Gold win over host Addison Trail on Saturday.
“We came out in the second half and picked it up,” said Warriors senior guard Yash Trent, who led his team with 16 points. “We should have come out more energetic than what we did today, but we got it going when we needed to.”
Playing the final three-plus quarters without leading scorer Josh Joiner after he twisted an ankle was just the beginning for Willowbrook (8-10, 1-5). Missing all 16 of its second-quarter shots led to 25 percent shooting for the game.
Throw in 17 turnovers and it’s even tougher to believe the way the Warriors closed the game. Trent’s 5-of-6 shooting from the line down the stretch began with a pair of free throws that put Willowbrook ahead 40-39 with 1:29 left. It marked the Warriors’ first lead since Tiger Greene, who scored 14 points, knocked down the first two baskets of the game.
Addison Trail (7-13, 1-5) regained a 41-40 advantage after Keith Coleman’s free throws, but Greene and Trent sealed the win from the line after taking advantage of back-to-back critical turnovers by the Blazers. Addison Trail scored at the buzzer to narrow the final gap to 2 points.
“We expended a lot of energy against Proviso East (on Friday), so I was worried about us coming out flat,” said Willowbrook coach Chris Perkins, whose team fell 80-51 to the Pirates. “True enough we came out flat and our best player went down. We lit a fire under our guys and told them they had to take their game to another level.”
Addison Trail junior guard James Pupillo powered the Blazers’ blistering first half. He scored 15 of his game-high 21 points as Addison Trail built a 26-11 second-quarter lead on Jordan Garcia’s 3-pointer.
LaShawnn Edwards scored to boost the Blazers’ advantage to 34-22 but the Warriors unleashed a devastating half-court trap. Willowbrook, which forced 12 second-half turnovers, closed the third quarter on a 9-0 run and trailed only 34-31 heading to the final quarter.
Edvinas Mickevicius capped Willowbrook’s rally by tying the game at 38-38 on a three-point play with 2:50 left, a play that became more crucial because Pupillo fouled out.
“The third quarter has kind of been our Achilles’ heel all season,” said Blazers coach Brendan Lyons. “We just couldn’t get into rhythm.”
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