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Strong shooting from Jon Moss and Lance Whitaker’s clamp-down defense helped spark a second-quarter surge that lifted Bartlett to its third straight win Friday, a 43-25 decision over rival South Elgin.
Moss buried three shots from beyond the arc and scored all 11 of his points in the period as the Hawks erased a 12-10 first-quarter deficit to take a 28-17 lead into the locker room at the half.
“When you play South Elgin you know they are going to make you work for everything,” said Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith. “They are very patient on offense and they like to hunker down in that zone on defense. The only way we were going to break that was to start knocking down some perimeter shots.
“Jon (Moss) gave us a big lift. When he’s on you can see it in his eyes that he is feeling it and he wants the ball.”
While Moss was lighting up the scoreboard Whitaker was doing a defensive number on South Elgin’s Ryne Lundy, who scored eight points in the first quarter to spark the Storm to the early lead. Whitaker switched to guard him and Lundy managed just four points the rest of the way and was held scoreless in the second half.
“We were struggling to get position on their big guy (Lundy) inside,” said Wolfsmith. “So we decided to put Lance on him and we can pretty much count on Lance shutting down anyone we put him on. His size and speed makes him tough on defense.”
Whitaker also added a game-high 13 points and seven rebounds.
“(Lundy) is a physical player,” said Whitaker. “I was just trying to get a body on him and keep my base and play smart. We are starting to gel as a team and we’re learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Bartlett (5-2, 2-0) scored the first 12 points of the second quarter to pull ahead 22-12. Moss, who missed his first three shots of the game, got on track with a long baseline jumper to start the run. He followed that with three three-pointers from the left wing.
“You can’t dwell on missed shots,” said Moss. “You have to keep the faith. My teammates were telling me to keep shooting and kept giving me the ball. I finally just got in a rhythm.”
The Storm’s offense stalled after the first quarter as it managed just 13 points on 5-of-19 shooting from the field the rest of the way. South Elgin (2-5, 0-3) also had 16 turnovers in the game as it lost its fourth in a row.
“It came down to toughness,” said South Elgin coach Chaz Taft. “I was just telling the guys we can’t even start talking about X’s and O’s until we start developing some toughness. We have to have the toughness to initiate our offense and start making our cuts and setting our screens.”
Lundy had 12 points to lead the Storm.