O’Brien: Chemistry is king for Upstate Eight Valley leaders Glenbard East

SHARE O’Brien: Chemistry is king for Upstate Eight Valley leaders Glenbard East

Glenbard East junior Mike Finley is generally the last player out of the locker room after the game. That was the case after the Rams knocked off West Chicago 57-41 on Tuesday in Lombard.

According to Finley he isn’t in there primping, there is a reason he sticks around until everyone else is gone.

“[Being last out] is typical for me,” Finley said. “I talk to everyone and let them know how great they played and to keep it up.”

Hopefully Finley received some accolades himself. The 6-3 forward used raw will and some leaping ability to lead the Rams (15-10, 6-1 Upstate Eight Valley) with 18 points and nine rebounds.

“Finley was just a monster tonight,” Glenbard East coach Scott Miller, who picked up his 300th career win last week, said. “He continues to get better and better.”

Patrick Peterkin, a 6-7 senior, has missed the entire season with an injury. He was the Rams top returning player.

“We’re a bunch of seniors so we didn’t get too down about it, but it was obviously a blow,” Glenbard East guard Jack Grigat said. “We knew we’d have to stick together, be a cohesive unit and play better defense. That’s gotten us through and now we are sitting first in conference.”

The Rams led by nine after three quarters and then held West Chicago to just one basket and two free throws in the fourth quarter.

Brothers Mike Bibbs and Tai Bibbs are the Wildcats top players. Tai Bibbs is considered one of the the most promising juniors in the state. Each scored just eight points.

“We did a nice job of moving [Mike Bibbs] out about two feet farther than he wants to shoot,” Miller said. “He’s lights out when he’s on the line. That was the key.”

Tai Bibbs shot 2-for-14 and one of the makes was a half-court buzzer-beater.

“Our help side defense was really big on [Tai Bibbs],” Miller said. “We really forced him to kind of shoot some leaners and fortunately he didn’t make them.”

Zach Walsh scored 10 points and had four rebounds for the Rams and Carlos Meyers added nine points. Sophomore Kenny Adams is a promising player, he scored seven points.

“[Adams] hit some big shots in the first quarter, early second quarter,” Miller said. “He just continues to get better and better. He’s progressing, we think he’s going to be a heck of a player down the line.”

The Rams now hold a one-game lead in the conference, so the title is theirs if they can win out. An impressive feat after losing your most talented player in the preseason.

“There is something to be said for chemistry,” Miller said. “Our chemistry is unbelievable. The kids do everything we ask them to do. We’re just not as big so at times we struggle on the glass.”

The Rams won the battle of the boards 29-26.

“We were getting killed on the boards early in the season and [Miller] just started drilling it into us in practice and everyone just eventually started crashing the glass,” Grigat said.

Point guard Peter Dolan led West Chicago (17-5, 5-2) with 10 points and Quinn Ricci added three points and six rebounds.

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