South Elgin slips past Glenbard South in Upstate Eight Conference

Thursday's Upstate Eight Conference boys basketball opener in Glen Ellyn featured two teams still trying to find themselves.

That certainly was reflected over the course of the game, during which neither South Elgin nor Glenbard South could grab an advantage for very long. But somebody had to win, and in the end, it was the Storm getting the best of the Raiders 58-54.

"Both Glenbard South and us are in the same position," Storm coach Philip Church said. "We're trying to find identities and find rotations. We got a lot of new guys."

The Storm (2-3, 1-0) led for most of the contest, including the entire first quarter, although the Raiders (2-3, 0-1) had their fair share of leads. It all came down to the final eight seconds, during which the Storm found itself on defense while leading by a basket. Glenbard South called a timeout before attempting an inbounds pass, and South Elgin called one itself after seeing how the Raiders were set up.

Glenbard South couldn't inbound the ball cleanly and turned it over before it could even run a play. The Storm successfully completed a pass on the ensuing possession out of another timeout, forcing the Raiders to foul.

"Sometimes, it comes down to that one possession," Church said. "And we were able to do what we needed to do out of the timeout and make that a tough pass, and it favored our way."

South Elgin ended up having to make one final defensive stop after splitting a pair of free throws, so that inbound sequence wasn't the moment that decided it. In fact, it was the final of Ishmael George's five made free throws that put the Storm up four and iced the victory.

Derek Clark led the Storm by scoring 14 of his points in the first half. Ethan Zagore scored 9 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, including a clutch 3-pointer in the right corner with 1:40 to go that gave the Storm some breathing room. Connor Hodges and Kevon Brooks Jr. had 9 points apiece off the bench.

Only four Raiders found the scoring column, but that was enough to keep them in it until the end. Mitchell Erickson was the leader with 19 points. Masroor Sahi had 16 points, including three 3-pointers, and Harper Bryan scored 13, two of which came on a layup at the first-quarter buzzer.

"You just do what you can with what you got," Raiders coach Jason Mead said. "I'm proud of our effort, and we're gonna keep working and keep trying to fix things. But I think ultimately, a lot of it is we are still in the infancy stages of playing together, and a lot of these guys don't play together year-round."

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