ELGIN – A single quarter kept the Glenbard North boys basketball team from having a shot at the Elgin Holiday Tournament title.
But after leaving the event with a 3-1 record and a third-place finish, Panthers’ head coach Joe Larson wasn’t about to complain.
“We definitely wanted to be in the championship game,” he said. “The third quarter in the semifinal game kind of cost us. But overall, I thought the guys played really well. We have a lot to build on. I’m proud of the guys and how they played.”
The third quarter Larson referred to came Friday against Phillips where Glenbard North was outscored 30-16 in an eventual 68-66, last-second loss on a putback at the buzzer. The Panthers had led 29-18 at halftime.
But the squad bounced back the next day to defeat Elgin 98-76 behind eight 3-pointers and 34 points from all-tournament team selection Jeremiah Fleming.
“He was really hitting and our guys were finding him,” said Larson, who added that the 98 points were the highest total for the team since he took over the program. “They were finding the hot hand. Elgin cut it to five in the third quarter, and he hit a three to put us back up eight and we took off from there. We really played well the rest of the ballgame and got [the lead] up to 29-30 [points] at one point.
“It was a fast-paced game, and we passed the ball well. We can get the ball up the court quickly and we can score quickly.”
Joining Fleming on the all-tournament team was Chip Flanigan. The senior scored 23 points against both Elgin and Phillips and is averaging 22.5 points per game thus far.
“He is just consistent,” the coach said. “And he had quite a few assists against Elgin. He plays a very solid overall game night in and night out, and that is definitely something we depend on.”
Glenbard North, which is 9-2 on the season, is in the midst of a break in its schedule with no games on tap this weekend. The Panthers return to the court next Friday for an important home DuPage Valley Conference contest against West Aurora. Naperville Central looms the next night on the road.
“We are happy with where we are at, but there is a lot more to do,” Larson said. “We have a big weekend coming up. Our defense is going to be key. We can score, but both of those teams can score also. We have to play solid defense and rebound.”