HEBRON – The Home team faced its largest deficit, 13 points, early in the second half and appeared to flip a switch.
The defense tightened. The 3-point shots fell like they were layups. The Away squad’s double-digit lead evaporated.
“We told ourselves to come out and try to play more defense,” said Home guard Alex Bartusch, of Crystal Lake South. “We put the ball in the hole and we were all good from there.”
Bartusch and Hampshire’s Tyler Crater led the way as the Home team won, 103-91, in the 2013 McHenry County Area All-Star Basketball Extravaganza boys game Sunday at Alden-Hebron’s Tigard Gymnasium.
“We got loosened up in the second half and picked up the defensive intensity,” said Crater, who finished with 13 points and six rebounds and was named the game’s MVP. “It’s an all-star game, but we got after it a little more in the second half.”
Bartusch led all players with 15 points, hitting 5 of 6 3s. Woodstock North’s Steven Whiting, Crystal Lake Central’s David Panicko and Crater all hit 3s to hack into the Away team’s lead. Bartusch made his last two 3s in the first 5 minutes of the second half to tie the score at 60.
When Alden-Hebron’s Ian Johnson banked in both free throws – the first on accident and the second on purpose – the Home team did not trail again.
“I told them at halftime, ‘Let’s get out and run a little more,’ ” said A-H coach Dale Jandron, who coached the Home team. “And I told them I’d treat them to pizza, but I don’t think that was what did it. I think they just got after it more.”
The Home squad got a three-point play and a 3 from Hampshire’s Brendan Waterworth as it scored 13 unanswered points to pull ahead 75-62.
Panicko finished with 11 points, all in the second half. Woodstock’s Jordan Turner hit three 3s and led the Away team with 14 points. Dundee-Crown’s Brandon Rodriguez and Grayslake North’s Danny Mateling scored 10 points each for the Away.
“They really pushed the ball in the second half and we cooled off,” said Woodstock coach Alex Baker, who coached the Away team. “This was a blast. The best part was getting to see these kids, even though it was only a couple practices and a game, getting to know each other. They are hard-working and polite and it was fun.”