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By Mike SandroliniHILLSIDE | Whitney Young, the No. 8 team in the Sun-Times Super 25 basketball rankings, captured the championship of the 56th annual Proviso West Holiday Tournament last Friday night, 80-71, over Morgan Park (ranked No. 3), but the story of the tourney as far as local teams are concerned is the resurgence of Proviso East.
The Pirates entered the four-day tournament having won just one game all year and enduring the program’s worst start to a season (1-6) in recent memory.
Despite dropping a 74-57 decision to Hillcrest in their tournament opener, coach Donnie Boyce and the Pirates found their groove the rest of the way, edging Von Steuben 64-63, and then St. Joseph 70-67 to advance to the consolation championship game. In that contest, the Pirates overcame a 10-point deficit in the third quarter to upend Downers North, 64-50, and take the consolation title.
Meanwhile, host Proviso West lost its first two tournament games—getting drilled by Uplift 83-49 in its opening matchup and then bowing to St. Joseph 59-55 in overtime—but ended the 2016 calendar year on a winning note, nipping Von Steuben 68-66 last Friday.
The Pirates trailed Downers North (making its inaugural Holiday Tournament appearance), 44-33 midway through the third period of the consolation title game before mounting a ferocious comeback. East outscored the Trojans 23-5 in the fourth quarter, and finally overtook the Trojans (who led 50-46 with 5:06 left) with an 18-0 run to close out the game.
Quinlan Bennett’s (nine points) layup with 4:32 remaining put the Pirates in front for good, 51-50. Tyler Chisom, who led the Pirates with25 points and 11 rebounds, scored six straight points over a 2:14 stretch to put them in front, 59-50, with 1:12 to go. Jamal Smith ended the game with a dunk for the Pirates. Jaelon Hood finished with 10 points.
East got to the consolation final by knocking off St. Joseph. The Pirates, who led by as many as 13 points during the first half, were comfortably ahead at intermission, 34-25, as they shot 60 percent and got 11 points from Trevor Moore off the bench. But the Pirates saw their lead melt away in the second half after the Chargers went on a 15-4 run and grabbed their first lead of the game, 40-38, halfway through the third quarter. However, East later regained the lead, 42-40, on Chisom’s three-point play, and took a 47-44 advantage at quarter’s end thanks to a Xavier Spencer free throw.
Moore’s trey at 2:50 of the final quarter broke a 59-59 tie and put the Pirates ahead to stay, 62-59. St. Joseph came within one point of East on two occasions (64-63 and 68-67) but two Bennett free throws with 11 seconds left sealed it for the Pirates. Hood paced the Pirates with 16 points and three steals, Moore added 14 and Chisom 12. Jamal Smith contributed eight points and 10 rebounds. Following their loss to Hillcrest—a game in which Bennett and Chisom scored 17 and 16 points, respectively, and Smith grabbed 11 rebounds—the Pirates experienced their first nail-biter of the tournament vs. Von Steuben.
Moore and Hood came up big late in the game for the Pirates. Moore broke a 56-56 tie—first converting a putback basket and then burying a three off a turnover—to provide the Pirates with a 61-56 lead. After Von Steuben came back to force a 63-63 tie, Hood sank one of two free throws help the Pirates regain the lead with five seconds remaining. A three-point attempt fromVon Steuben at the buzzer hit the front of the rim, but bounced off. Jordan Morris’ 19 points on 7 of 10 shooting led the Pirates, and Bennett tallied 12.
The Pirates (4-7) will try to build on the momentum they gained at the Holiday Tournament when they visit Fenwick—which finished fourth in the tourney—in a nonconference game at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The Panthers did hold a brief lead over Uplift—4-0 in the first quarter—but things went downhill from there as Uplift went on a 14-0 run and never looked back en route to its lopsided victory. Ronnie Allgood led the Panthers in scoring (10 points) and rebounding (six).
West moved to the consolation bracket vs. St. Joseph and held a 46-40 lead 1:30 into the fourth quarter thanks to a Dontonio Ward three-pointer. The Chargers, however, outscored the Panthers 9-3 over the next 4:09 to force a 49-49 tie. An Allgood basket with 1:26 to go in regulation put the Panthers back in front, but St. Joseph tied it with 19 seconds left, and the matchup went into overtime.
The Chargers went 6 of 8 from the line to secure the W. Allgood and Ward were the two Panthers in double figures, scoring 18 and 12 points, respectively. The Panthers closed out play last Friday morning. They sprinted out to a10-0 lead to open the game against Von Steuben, and held off their opponent in the fourth quarter to notch their only win of the tournament.
Von Steuben crept to within a point of the Panthers five times during the final period, but he Panthers hung on. Ward’s layup with 1:41 left and a free throw from Bryant with 59 seconds to go proved to be the deciding points.
The Panthers (6-4) are back in action at 6 p.m. Saturday in a nonconference tilt at East Aurora.