Senior leadership can be displayed in many different ways.
The route Homewood-Flossmoor's Kevin Dillard chose Saturday night involved back-to-back fourth-quarter 3-pointers in the Vikings' come-from-behind, 58-51 victory over host Hillcrest in the nightcap of the Shootout at the Hill.
"We needed to score, so I took it upon myself to take a chance, to take a big shot," said the Southern Illinois-bound Dillard, who had 12 of his game-high 25 points while playing the entire fourth quarter with four fouls. "I like taking the big shots in close games."
The 12-0 burst out of the gate got Hillcrest (6-2) a much-needed boost that helped erase the memory of a 15-point loss to the No. 2 Vikings during Thanksgiving week. H-F (8-0) trimmed the initial deficit to 17-11 by the end of the first quarter but still found itself behind 28-21 at the half.
Three quick Viking baskets over 2:15 to start the third made it 28-27 but Hillcrest managed to hold onto the lead until Dillard's two 3-pointers, which ignited an 11-1 run over three minutes and left H-F in control with a 52-44 cushion with three minutes to go.
H-F senior guard Supo Sanni was the only other Viking in double figures with 12 and he had two of the three baskets to eat into the Hillcrest lead right after halftime. He and senior forward Dominique Harvey also chipped in with eight rebounds apiece and the Illinois football recruit pointed toward the entire team's refusal to panic as the catalyst.
"It just took us some time to get our minds into the game," said Sanni. "We've been in this position before. Last year we weren't able to do something like that and not get rattled and come from behind. But this year we've got the veteran leadership to do it."