ADDISON – Addison Trail's boys basketball team has had several close losses this season.
Taylor White played the role of hero for the Blazers in a narrow victory against Morton Jan. 24.
After James Pupillo missed a shot with about 12 seconds left and Morton grabbed the rebound, the junior picked off a pass and went the other way for a layup with 6.4 seconds left to give the Blazers a 61-59 lead that stuck for the win in a West Suburban Gold game.
"It feels really nice to be on the other side of a close game," White said.
Close games have had a tendency to go against AT so far, and it has lost four games at the buzzer this season. White's heroics helped the Blazers experience what life is like at the other end of the spectrum.
The decisive play was chaotic with the Blazers initially turned away on a shot moments before White came to the rescue with his steal.
"We wanted to hold the ball, but when I saw that they got it I figured who they would want to get the ball to [Weisner Perez]," White said of the crucial steal. "I saw him and I just went for it."
Morton's Greg Carter drove the length of the floor for a potential tying layup, but the ball rimmed out and the Mustangs couldn't get another shot off.
"We've had a lot of those go against us this year and to see that ball rim out at the end was as big of a relief as we've had," AT coach Brendan Lyons said.
Morton led by as many as 13 points in the first half and 11 in the third quarter, but every time the Mustangs extended the lead the Blazers fought back. AT took its first lead of the game with 3:09 left in the game on a Ronald Duling basket, and it was back and forth from there.
Riding high after the win over Morton, AT had an easier time the next day as it defeated District 88 rival Willowbrook 77-57. With the win over the Warriors, the Blazers improved to 9-11 overall and 4-2 in the Gold.
"We're definitely playing better," Lyons said. "We're believing and we're not getting rattled when things aren't going our way. Obviously guys have to make shots and guys have to make plays, but when you have six, seven seniors who have had a lot of experience, you expect that."
• Taylor White: 14 points
• Joe Kurucar: 13 points
• James Pupillo: 12 points
• White: 18 points
• Ronald Duling: 14 points
• Pupillo: 10 points