GURNEE, Ill. -- Doing the bare minimum wasn’t going to get Warren’s Darius Paul anything against Glenbrook North’s defense on Saturday.
The Spartans’ defenders were on top of Paul wherever he roamed. And for three quarters, Paul was a non-factor partly because he stayed passive and party because of the defensive pressure.
But with No. 4 Warren staring an upset in the face in the closing minutes of Saturday’s non-conference matchup, Paul was moved to do something about it. Paul went on a personal 5-0 run in the closing two minutes and made the difference in the Blue Devils' 41-32 win over Glenbrook North.
“I just didn’t want to lose to Glenbrook North,” Paul said. “It was our last game here [at home.] I decided to make all my shots.”
More than deciding to make shots, Paul decided to take them. He first knocked down a step-back 15-footer on the baseline to give Warren a 35-32 lead with 1:55 left. On the next possession, he drove hard to the rim, was fouled, scored and knocked down the free throw. The Blue Devils went ahead 38-32 with 1:05 remaining.
“It’s the whole team,” said Warren coach Chuck Ramsey, whose squad improved to 19-2. “We got to move with purpose better. When [Paul] does that, he’s hard to guard. He made those big shots and big plays for us.”
Glenbrook North (17-6) had done everything nearly perfect to create an upset scenario until that point. After trailing 15-8 after one quarter, the Spartans fought back by slowing the game down, sometimes using more than a minute of the clock to find their shot.
The snail pace led to Glenbrook North outscoring Warren 17-10 over the second and third quarters. The teams were tired at 25 leading into the fourth quarter.
Glenbrook North went ahead 32-29 with 4:38 left, but Warren responded with a 12-0 run, including Paul’s baskets, to finish the game.
“We hadn’t played well the whole game, and we were really spotty tonight,” Ramsey said. “They were real physical, and we need to react better to the physical play. All in all, we found a way to win.”
Glenbrook North coach David Weber felt the game was won at the free-throw line. The Spartans missed the front end of two one-and-one opportunities with less four minutes remaining and were 5-of-9 from the line in the fourth quarter. Warren was 6-of-7 at the charity stripe.
“We did what we wanted to do, and we got to the line,” Weber said. “We drove, and they fouled us. We missed two front ends and then we missed two, and that was a big turning point in that game.”
Warren’s Nathan Boothe chipped in with Paul, his fellow big man, in the fourth quarter. Booth scored seven of his 11 points in the final quarter. He also had 10 rebounds and five blocks in the game.
Glenbrook North’s Andrew McAuliffe continued to get back into the swing of things after missing the first two months of the season. He played in his third game Saturday and had eight points and three rebounds. Weber said was McAuliffe about 60-70 percent healthy.
Trevor Ponticelli (six points), Adam Chick (six points) and Kurt Karis (five points, six rebounds) contributed for Glenbrook North. Jon Geske also had six points and six rebounds for Warren.