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Bartlett's Lance Whitaker (right) grabs a loose ball in front of Jacobs' Lake Ojo on Saturday in Algonquin. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Bartlett has developed a bad habit it would just as soon drop, but for now it seems to be doing the trick.
For the third time this week at the Jacobs Holiday Classic, the Hawks surrendered a double-digit lead only to rally in the fourth quarter and pull out a 59-52 win over the host Golden Eagles in the A Bracket Consolation title game. Bartlett finished the tournament 4-1, good for fifth place overall in the 16-team field.
Lance Whitaker, who was named to the all-tournament team along with teammate Jon Moss, had 16 points to lead the Hawks.
“One of these games it would be nice to get a big lead and just hold it,” said Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith. “But we seem to like to make things interesting. We need to find a way to compose ourselves when a team makes a run at us before it gets too late. Fortunately, Lance and Jon and Marcus (Aluquin) were again able to finish strong and get the win for us.”
Bartlett (12-4) was in full control with a 30-17 lead at halftime, but made just two baskets in the third quarter to open the door for Jacobs. Will Schwerdtmann caught fire from the perimeter and hit three three-pointers in the third quarter to pull the Golden Eagles to within 35-34. Then on the first two trips down the court in the fourth quarter Schwerdtmann and Jon Berndt scored baskets to put Jacobs ahead 38-35.
However, one thing Bartlett has learned well is to not panic in these situations. Moss answered with a three-pointer to tie the game at 38-38 with 7:10 left to play. From there, Whitaker took over, repeatedly driving the lane on several occasions, resulting in nine fourth-quarter points. He scored seven of those from the free-throw line after drawing fouls on his way to the basket. He also had a putback.
“Our offense had gotten a little out of control,” said Whitaker. “I felt it was a good time to take the ball to the basket. We needed to get back to executing and not forcing our outside shots.”
Every time Whitaker drove he seem to draw a host of defenders, but was still able to find an open teammate when he needed to. Justin Busch had a pair of baskets on assists from Whitaker. Tim McKeague also added a basket down the stretch.
“We always like when Lance goes to the basket,” said Wolfsmith. “He has a nice outside shot when he needs it, but he is most effective when he is driving. He’s so strong taking it inside, there are very few players who can stay with him. Plus, he draws defenders to him and he’s able to find an open teammate.”
Schwerdtmann finished with 20 points to lead Jacobs. The Golden Eagles finished the tournament 3-2.
“I am really impressed with that Bartlett team,” said Jacobs coach Jim Hinkle. “We were able to make a nice run at them. We did a nice job on the Whitaker kid most of the game, but we couldn’t stop him when he started taking it to the basket in the fourth quarter. I’m still very pleased with the way we finished the tournament. “
In earlier action South Elgin (5-12) rallied from a five-point deficit going into the fourth quarter to pull out a 68-64 win over Elk Grove to finish the tournament 3-2. Darius Wells scored 16 of his game-high 32 points in the fourth quarter rally, including four three-pointers. Matt McClure added 11 points and Ryne Lundy had 10.