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Glenview- Max Cohen GBS looks to pass around Tyler Williams. Waukegan at Glenbrook South boys basketball. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
The Glenbrook South boys basketball team needed a win in the worst of ways.
Recent road losses to Niles West, Maine South and New Trier had done more than push the Titans down in the CSL South standings — they had sapped the team of its confidence.
That’s why Friday night’s 59-57 overtime win against Evanston was so huge.
“It was nice to see that we had gotten something that we had been lacking recently and that was our confidence, the confidence to close out a close game,” Titans coach Ben Widner said. “The thing that has been lacking for us lately has been confidence. Guys have been practicing hard and playing well in practice. It’s just a matter of getting confident in games when the chips are down a little bit.”
At Beardsley Gym something snapped into place for the Titans. Facing a significant deficit, Glenbrook South was able to bounce back for a victory to close out the conference season.
“Our biggest thing last night was when we got down, we didn’t panic, we didn’t rush our shots,” Widner said. “That’s the way it’s kind of manifested itself is when we’ve gotten down, we think we have to get it all back at once. We’re shooting quickly and we’re not having the confidence in our offense that we’re going to be able to get the shots we want. Last night, we executed well. We didn’t panic. We got great looks.”
The win also served to electrify the locker room.
“You could just tell, it was completely different,” senior forward Justin Busiel said. “Throughout the year, we’ve been giving up leads. We’ve been on the other end of that. It’s completely different coming back from seven down or whatever it was in the fourth quarter.”
Busiel and junior center Conor McCarthy will be pivotal to Glenbrook South’s confidence on offense and therefore its postseason chances — 10th-seeded Glenbrook South plays host to No. 7 Foreman in its postseason opener at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday — according to Widner.
“We’ve actually told those kids, they’re so unselfish, we’ve told both those kids that we need you to score here,” Widner said. “We need you to make something happen with the ball.”
Busiel agreed that it has been a ongoing project trying to take the initiative on the offensive end.
“Coach has been trying to make me do that all year long,” Busiel said. “I just don’t want to be a ball hog sometimes. We have so many guys that can step up and hit the shot.”
On Friday night, Busiel keyed the Titans’ victory, according to his coach, providing a blueprint for the future.
“He took over for a stretch (Friday) night, taking it to the basket, (getting) offensive rebounds and hitting the jump shot as well,” Widner said. “We’ve got to get it to our scorers at the right time.”
The Titans couldn’t have picked a better time to find their leading scorers, their composure and their winning ways.
“That game was huge for us,” Busiel said. “... Pulling off that conference win to end the season was a big win for us going into the playoffs and it just got the confidence back up.”~.