FRANKFORT - It was deja vu for the Lincoln-Way East basketball team Friday night as they hosted Homewood-Flossmoor in a SouthWest Suburban Blue Conference tilt.
The Griffins played a great first half and led the Vikings 26-23 at halftime, but just like last Friday, the third quarter was their downfall as H-F (17-2, 2-0) outscored East 20-5 in that pivotal quarter and cruised to a 64-43 victory.
"I have no answers," East coach Rich Kolimas said after the game.
East (12-5, 0-2) trailed 18-13 after the first quarter, but outscored the Vikings 13-5 in the second quarter, thanks to Ty Slager, who had 13 of his 18 points in the first half and Cameron Mallory who scored all of his eight point in the half. With the Griffins trailing 23-18 with 5:51 left, Slager hit a basket and Mallory drained back-to-back 3 pointers to go into the locker room with the three point lead.
The Griffins made six 3's in the first half, out rebounded the Vikings and limited them to just one field goal in the second quarter.
"When I come off the bench I'm looking to score and play great defense," Mallory said. "I was looking for those 3 pointers, because I have the confidence in the shot and when you hit that first one, it just gives you more confidence."
However, in the third quarter H-F found their shot in a big way. The Vikings hit five 3's with most of those from well beyond the arc. Joel Watts, the Viking senior, who scored 21 points in the game, hit two 3's from at least thirty feet out as H-F led 43-33 heading to the fourth quarter.
Against Bolingbrook, only a week ago, the Griffins were outscored 21-11 in the third quarter after only being down by one at the break and trailed by 11 entering the fourth quarter.
After a basket by Myles Olagbegi brought the Griffins back to within eight, the Vikings scored 11 unanswered points, with Watts scoring eight of those including another incredibly long 3 pointer to give the Vikings a 54-35 lead and the game with 5:29 left.
Viking sophomore Christian Weeks added 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the Vikings hit eight 3's in the game and outscored the Griffins 41-17 in the second half.
One thing that hurt the Griffins was two quick fouls on Jhei-R Jones as he sat early and was held scoreless for the game.
"Our scouting report said that they will shoot the three from those spots and we didn't defend it," Kolimas said. "Jheir-R getting those fouls early didn't help, we didn't execute and we didn't contest the three and right now I'm not sure what it is.
"We have come out the last two Friday's against great teams in Bolingbrook and H-F and play well the first half, but I'm not sure what it is in that third quarter. I don't know if the energy is is not there, if the other team is making better adjustments and it looks like a pattern is developing that can't continue."
"I can't explain the last two Friday's, but we have to keep our composure and trust the offense," Mallory said. "The coaches get us prepared and it was in the scouting report that they would attempt three-point shots from anywhere. You see in the first half that we can play with anyone, we just have to figure this out."