This time around, a gaudy performance by an O’Fallon Panther wasn’t enough.
Senior Donovan Franklin scored a game-high 29 points Saturday, but the Panthers fell to Bolingbrook 64-57 in the inaugural Bank of O’Fallon Shootout.
On Friday, senior Darien McClain scored a career-high 33 points as O’Fallon defeated Belleville West. The Raiders, however, did not fall prey to similar circumstances.
“We didn’t shoot it well from the perimeter,” said O’Fallon coach Rick Gibson, whose team slipped to 15-7. “Part of that was their guards. Their guards are strong, they’re tough and they kind of forced our guards to have to be a step back. Shooting percentages aren't going to be as good there.”
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Division I prospect Junior Prentiss Nixon scored 16 points and junior Devon Sams added 15 points to lift Bolingbrook (14-5), which survived some nervous moments down the stretch.
O’Fallon led 23-22 at halftime, but was outscored 15-5 in the third quarter to trail 37-28. Nixon keyed the surge by scoring seven points.
The Raiders led 52-38 with 3:01 to play in the game, but Franklin fueled a 12-3 run with a basket and a 3-pointer. Sophomore Alex Orr’s 3-pointer with 40 seconds left whittled Bolingbrook’s lead to a scant 57-55.
McClain narrowly missed a steal on the Raiders’ ensuing inbounds pass, and Orr fouled Sams, who had missed five consecutive free throws.
But Sams made both attempts, giving the Raiders a 59-55 lead with 35.9 seconds left. Nixon followed with a backcourt steal, and he scored while being fouled by Franklin. Nixon’s free throw boosted the lead to 62-55 with 34.4 seconds left.
Junior Bradley Harrison scored for the Panthers to make it 62-57 with 20 seconds remaining, but Sams sealed the deal with two more free throws with 13.4 seconds to play.
“We had a couple of costly steals late in the game,” Gibsons said. “Our kids showed some fight; they came back. We got ourselves in a deep hole and the kids came back, but a couple of tough turnovers that they converted at the other end (hurt).”
McClain was on fire against West in a Southwestern Conference game on Friday. He had 26 points and halftime and finished 7-for-10 on 3-pointers.
But against Bolingbrook, McClain scored just eight points. He was 2-for-16 from the field, including 1-for-13 from beyond the arc. His lone 3 came in the fourth quarter.
Junior Chance Armstrong added 11 points for O'Fallon.
Bolingbrook’s guard trio of Nixon, Sams and senior Brodric Thomas came as advertised. All were able to consistently get to the rim to score, dish or grab an offensive rebound.
“Their guards are strong,” Gibson said. “They’ve got some strong, tough guards. They’ve got a three-headed monster there with some guards. They’re good defensively.
“The story of that game was the third quarter, really. The first, second and fourth, we didn't play bad. But the third quarter, they took us out of anything we wanted to do. They kind of kept us out of the lane, and it was their defense.”
O’Fallon scored more points in the fourth quarter (29) than it did in the first three.
“We finally got a little more aggressive,” Gibson said. “We took it at them a little more in the fourth quarter, where in the first three, we didn't.”