Palatine’s May scores 31 on near perfect shooting

What wrist?

After Palatine’s Connor May broke his right wrist in the Pirates’ opening football game in late August, there was some worries on how it would affect his shooting when basketball season began.

After Friday in Hoffman Estates, that concern is all gone.

May scored a season-best 31 points and was nearly unstoppable as Palatine rolled past Conant 55-35.

The victory left the Pirates (9-3, 3-1) one game behind Barrington in the Mid-Suburban West as the teams head into the Christmas break and holiday tournaments. Barrington knocked off Schaumburg 51-42 on Friday.

May, who came into Friday’s game at Conant averaging just under 18 points, was on fire from the Pirates’ first possession. The Washington University commit drilled his first of 7 three-pointers just 35 seconds into the game.

“My wrist feels all good now,” said May, who would finish 11-of-12 from the field, including 7-of-8 from outside the arc.

“I had a good night. But none of it was generated by myself. My teammates penetrated and kicked the ball out. I just felt it tonight, but they got me there.”

May was so focused that he knocked down his first 9 shots and all 7 of his three-pointers. It was so good for the senior that his final successful three-pointer hit the front of the rim, and then slowly rolled over the top of the rim before dropping through.

“When you got it you got it,” May said. “These guys put me in position and I just took it.”

May’s hot night helped ignite his Palatine teammates. The Pirates shot a sizzling 70 percent (19-of-27) from the field. That included 69 percent (9-of-13) from outside the arc.

“Connor draws so much attention,” said Darrin Dick, who finished with 9 points, including a three-pointer.

“You can just sit out and get a couple of shots and a couple of driving lanes. It is good to give him a break. He knows he can rely on us to make some shots.”

Palatine coach Eric Millstone said May just never cooled off.

“Connor was just being Connor tonight,” Millstone said. “You could tell early, he hit a couple and then just got it stuck. When that happens, you just sit back and enjoy it.”

Conant coach Matt Walsh said it was one of the best shooting nights he had ever witnessed.

“Certainly in my 25-plus years of coaching, regardless of the level, it is one of the best performances I have even seen,” Walsh said. “And everyone knows he is capable of it.”

Palatine knocked down 10-of-13 shots in the first half including 7-of-8 from three-point range. But thanks to some scrappy play by Conant (5-6, 1-3), which forced 7 first-half turnovers, Palatine led just 29-21 at the half thanks to a three-pointer by Dick.

May then converted four consecutive baskets with two of those coming from long range. He then dropped two free throws before leaving the court with three fouls.

Dick and Tony Balanganayi each had a basket to culminate a 17-0 run by the Pirates as they took a commanding 43-21 lead with 2:09 left in the third quarter.

“When your best player is playing well, it is easy for other guys to assume their roles,” Millstone said. “We do have some guys who can space the floor little bit. When everyone is doing their job and guys are playing to their strengths, we can pose some problems.”

Kasey May added five points and Tommy Elter had six rebounds for the Pirates, who have now won seven in row heading into the Jack Tosh tournament at York next Tuesday.

Conant, which will also play at the Tosh tournament, was led by Yusef Cisse, who had 9 points, and Camden Lathos, who had 8 points.

“I really felt we executed very well and had a lot of clean and open looks,” said Walsh, whose team shot 33 percent (14-of-42) “Unfortunately, that is something that has plagued us.”

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