Metea Valley pulls out OT triumph over Glenbard East
Metea Valley has already had its share of close losses to begin the 2017-18 season.
So in the opening round of the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York High School on Tuesday, the Mustangs were more than happy to see the shoe on the other foot.
Overcoming an 8-point halftime deficit, Metea Valley clawed its way back for a 68-63 overtime victory over Glenbard East and a second-round date with Hinsdale South and Iowa State-recruit Zion Griffin.
"We had a few real close games in our opening tournament," Metea Valley coach Matt Walpole said. "And when you are dealing with a younger team, you have to learn how to win and pull those types of games out. We didn't do everything perfectly, but we did well enough in overtime to have a cushion and pull it out."
With the score knotted at 57 through regulation, sub Nick Herrmann gave Metea Valley (4-5) the lead for good with an early basket in overtime. Herrmann was also the one responsible for sending the game into the extra session, courtesy of his jumper with 1:10 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs then made seven free throws to close it out, the last four by Ethan Helwig. The junior guard finished with 20 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals.
He was one of three players in double figures, with Cory Adams and Brad Hartje scoring 14 apiece. Holden Rank also came off the bench to net 9.
"Everyone can score on our team," Helwig said. "We all have our roles and all five of us (in the starting lineup) can rebound and score and pass. And then the guys on the bench come in and Nick and Holden were big sparks for us off the bench. Those guys really stepped up.
"Just pressuring them was the difference (in the second half). We got in their grill, I guess, and forced them to turn the ball over and take some bad shots. That was the turning point in the second half."
For Glenbard East, the contest continued a recent trend for the Rams, who have lost four in a row to fall to 5-6 on the winter.
Glenbard East led by as many as seven points in the fourth but could not close it out.
"I'm really proud of our kids effort," Glenbard East coach Scott Miller said. "But we have to get to the point, with three minutes left, we have to be able to finish games off.
"We missed too many free throws and didn't get a defensive stop here or there. It's been like that the last couple of weeks. We have lost four in a row and three have been exactly the same way."
Kenny Adams topped all scorers with 21 points and added 4 steals. Korvante Davis had 14 points, Alijah Nelson contributed 11 points and James Peterkin added 10 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
The Rams, who trailed by 7 early before a 20-5 run gave them a 30-22 lead at halftime, will take on Rolling Meadows in the consolation bracket on Wednesday.