NORMAL — The chance to be a hero traded hands several times in the final 52 seconds at University High School on Friday.
When time ran out, Will Hanlon held the hero title and that made Chatham Glenwood’s basketball team a 43-42 winner.
The 6-foot-5 Hanlon, who finished with a game-high 20 points, sank a contested 3-pointer with 26 seconds left to put the Titans on top, 43-41.
Fellow hero candidate Doug Holmes, whose 3-pointer off an Alex Wood assist gave the Pioneers a 41-40 lead with :52 showing, then sank the second of two free throw tries to pull the hosts within one.
After Hanlon missed the front end of bonus free throw situation with :11.7 left, a 3-point try by U High's Joe Brown sailed long with :03 to go and that was that.
"With no timeouts, we had called a play at the previous timeout (with :39.2 left)," said U High coach Andrew McDowell said. "Our kids were able to execute the play and get a look that we were comfortable with our team taking to win the game. It just didn't go in."
Hanlon accounted for six of Glenwood's nine 3-pointers, which were more than enough to overcome U High's five treys. Holmes sank three from beyond the arc en route to 14 points.
"We knew they were great shooters," McDowell said. "Hanlon and (Brayden) Kilby are really solid shooters.
"Hanlon made some tough shots where I thought we had a hand in his face, but when you're 5-11 guarding a 6-5 guy, that hand might not be there, especially on the one he hit at the end. I thought Doug had a good closeout on him with a high hand. The kid stuck it."
The contest, part of the Central State Eight Conference Tournament round-robin, saw the Pioneers fall to 8-8 overall and 4-2 in the league ahead of Saturday's game at Decatur MacArthur. Glenwood improved to 14-4 and 7-2.
Hanlon finished 7 of 13 from the field. Among his biggest baskets was a tip-in to make it 40-38 with 2:05 remaining.
"Will is just a great kid," said Titan coach Todd Blakeman. "He plays hard, plays with focus. I know he had a big tip-in there. Along with his threes tonight, he just played a really complete game. I was really impressed by him."
U High and Glenwood took turns dominating the first half with the Pioneers earning a 14-5 lead after one quarter and the Titans taking a 19-18 advantage at intermission.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Wood and Holmes gave U High the upper hand at 11-5, but at the halftime buzzer, Glenwood moved ahead on an alley oop layup by Kilby off a Hanlon lob.
"Kilby got a nice backdoor on that," Blakeman said. "It was timely."
U High seemed to get every loose ball in the third quarter, but that only earned a 30-28 lead entering the final period.
"I thought we were a really tough team tonight," McDowell said. "Defensively, we were tough. I think we made them earn everything. I thought we were the first team on the floor for loose balls, which is stuff we've got to do every night."
Glenwood outshot U High from the field, .412 to .395, but committed 11 turnovers to the Pioneers' nine.
"We've been watching tape," Blakeman said. "We saw what we were in for tonight. We knew it would be a low-scoring affair. They've got some strong kids inside."
Providing U High's power in the paint were Nate Torres, who finished with 12 points and five boards, and Mark Widdel, who had 10 points and six rebounds.
McDowell was especially happy his team shrugged off a 38-34 deficit with 4:04 left. Torres made that happen by following his two free throws with a layup to tie it at 38 with 3:10 to go.
"It was just two even teams playing," Blakeman said. "We were just fortunate to come out with a victory."