Palatine downs Hoffman Estates
Hoffman Estates entered Friday's Mid-Suburban League West Division boys basketball game against Palatine with an eight-game losing streak.
Although the Hawks led the host Pirates by 9 points at half, Palatine survived the deficit to capture a 54-46 win.
Hoffman senior Sheldon Barnett-Morales was nearly unstoppable as he notched 20 of the Hawks' 29 points in the first half. Barnett-Morales tallied a double-double (11 rebounds) in the loss. Palatine retaliated by changing its defensive approach. The Pirates initiated a variation of zone and double-team defenses on Barnett-Morales to keep the Hoffman standout scoreless in the second half.
"I thought we did a poor job in identifying where (Barnett-Morales) was," said Palatine coach Eric Millstone. " (Barnett-Morales) turned it on big-time. I told the (Pirates) to keep a body on him at all time.
"It's a matter of addressing mistakes and building off them. What we do has to stay as even keel as we can."
The Pirate defensive effort held the Hawks to a five-minute scoring drought in the third quarter. Palatine sophomore Julian Campbell put on a clinic in the paint. Also, Campbell's principal defensive assignment was Barnett-Morales.
The Palatine forward tallied 16 points and 9 rebounds.
"(Millstone) basically told us we should step it up and we did what we had to do." Campbell said. "Coach told me I need to play and work hard. Personally, I can do better, and the second half we played like it was a new game. (The game) came down to who wanted it more."
"When Julian asserts himself, the sky is the limit for him." Millstone said.
While Hoffman relinquished the lead, the Pirates were still within reach trailing 37-35 in the third quarter.
Late in the fourth quarter, Hawks senior guard Marquez Woodard created a solo 6-0 run to tie the game at 43. The Hoffman two-guard made a layup on a one-and-one call and subsequently hit the free throw. Woodard stole the ensuing inbound pass and hit a 3-pointer to tie the game.
After a Palatine timeout, sophomore Marshawn Rayford forced consecutive Hoffman turnovers that resulted in points. Rayford led the 5-0 run that inevitably put the game out of reach for any Hoffman late-game heroics.
"Hoffman has some great athletes," Rayford said. "(In the) first quarter we didn't play so well, but we stepped up in the second half. We need to focus and take our time, because we played a little lazy in the beginning. We just have to keep grinding."