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Streamwood sprang a big surprise on Bartlett Friday in the form of 6-foot-9 post player Zach Harris playing at the top of the key in a zone defense, and it worked to perfection.
Bartlett's own defensive struggles did the rest, leading to a 57-47 Streamwood victory in the Wheaton Academy Thanksgiving tournament.
"It's the first time we went 2-2 here," said Tim Jones, who is in his final season as Sabres head coach. "It's still a work in progress. We're still rough around the edges.
"We have some athletic ability and we have some size and some ball handlers. And we hit our free throws down the stretch."
Harris was a big reason for Streamwood's 2-2 finish in the tourney. The senior recorded a double-double, with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Yet it was his defense in the zone that seemed to befuddle the Hawks and star guard Lance Whitaker.
"It was the first time we tried it, but I think with my length it would help just to cover more ground and make it tough for them to make passes," Harris said. "He (Jones) said he doesn't want us to get lazy with the zone so I think we'll just mix it up through most of the year."
Whitaker still scored a game-high 21 points, but got 12 in the fourth quarter when the Hawks trailed and were forcing up shots to try to get back in the game. Bartlett hit eight three-pointers, but missed 23.
"The zone doesn't bother me," Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith said, after his team fell to 2-1. "We got the looks we wanted, they just didn't fall.
"I'm more concerned by our lack of ability to play defense. Our defense let us down today. We gave up 68 points in the first two games combined. Now today we gave up 57."
Streamwood hit 51 percent from the field (19-of-37) for the game to Bartlett's 32 percent (16-of-50) and outrebounded the Hawks 34-21. The Sabres did this with 6-4 inside threat Joel Lightbourne on the bench almost half the game with foul trouble.
Streamwood turned to its bench and got scoring help at guard from senior Trevious Norman, who produced 10 of his team-high 15 points in the second half. He helped them turn a 32-30 lead with just 3 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter to a 43-33 lead with six minutes left in the game by scoring seven of his points.
Norman had a couple layups and a three-pointer in the run and Harris made a hook shot. Then Streamwood protected the lead well by making 7-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter, including 4-of-4 from Harris.
"This offseason I really worked on all kinds of stuff to try to fine-tune all of my game so I could be more like a well-rounded player than just like a post threat."
Streamwood also had 11 points and three assists from guard Jacob Siewert.
"We're going to see zones because our shooters are small, so if you've got tall enough guys you get out in the lanes and defend our shooters," Wolfsmith said. "We've got to knock it down. We had looks with good shooters, they just didn't knock them down."
Bartlett's Jon Moss and Marcus Aluquin downed three three-pointers each for nine points apiece.