A new era of basketball is upon us.
Tuesday night’s showcase game at the Glenbrook North-Saint Patrick’s Thanksgiving tournament was a matchup of two undefeated teams in the host Shamrocks and Walter Payton College Prep.
The two teams combined for an incredible 27 made three pointers, before St. Pats eked out a 71-69 victory to move to 2-0 on the young season.
Things started simply enough with Payton playing a fairly aggressive man defense and St. Patrick keeping it tight with their new 1-3-1 zone.
The Shamrock’s controlled the early tempo and led 7-5 before hitting three straight three pointers to extend the lead to 16-5.
Undeterred by the early run, Payton responded with a couple of three pointers of their own to close out the quarter but St.Pat’s took a comfortable 21-13 lead after the first frame.
At the turn of the quarter, Grizzlies coach Quinn Peterson put junior forward Liam Dillion into the game. Dillon proceeded to hit seven, three pointers in the frame including a four point play and one when to score 22 points by himself.
Despite the long range barrage, Payton had no answer for Shamrock senior point guard Austin Freeman who was able to get into the lane at will and keep the Shamrocks in the lead.
“Freeman was an All-Conference player for us last year and is one one two seniors who are playing right now,” said St. Pats head coach Mike Bailey. “He guards, rebounds and does lots of different things for us.”
Unfortunately for St. Pats, the hot offensive start wouldn’t last. The Shamrocks went ice cold in the third quarter, scoring only three points while Payton used this stretch to grab a 56-53 lead going into the 4th quarter.
Payton continued to dominate the run of play early in the fourth quarter, but an unfortunate missed dunk/technical foul called for hanging on the rim by Jabari Chiphe swung the momentum back in St. Pat’s favor as the to regained the lead at 58-56.
The teams traded baskets for the next three minutes and the game was tied until junior center Joseph Fanning got involved in the offense, securing an offensive put back, and two late free throws giving the a Shamrocks a 70-69 lead that they would never relinquish.
“That’s our best shot, he’s a real good basketball player in a football player’s body,” Bailey said.
Payton had several chances in the final seconds but St. Pat’s defense did just enough to hold out for a 71-69 win.
“This is the second game we played our 31 defense, we think down the road it will be good for us,” said Bailey. “To beat the teams we are going to have to beat to get downstate, we are going to have to play that defense. We are just in the infancy stages right now,”
Walter Payton will attempt to rebound versus Douglass on Wednesday at 6:00 PM while St. Pat’s will take on De La Salle for a possible first place pool finish at 7:30 PM.