Tag Archives: high school basketball

Providence-St. Mel Holds Off Tilden, Takes Home Sectional Title

The Knights cut down the nets after defeating Tilden to win the Lisle Sectional.

Providence St. Mel 65 Tilden 52

Providence-St. Mel held off a late Tilden run to capture a 65-52 victory in the Class 2A Lisle Sectional championship game Friday night.

The Knights led by 18 points midway through the third quarter, but an 18-5 Tilden run cut the margin to five (42-37) with six and half minutes left in the fourth quarter.

The Blue Devils (19-14) got within five points three more times in the final frame, but were never able to get closer.

Kendall Gatewood (16 points, 6 steals) made a lay-up to get the Blue Devils within five (48-43) with five and a half minutes to go in the fourth. Khalil Small knocked down a three-pointer on the ensuing Providence-St. Mel (23-7) possession, sparking a 16-5 run that saw the Knights take back control of the game.

“Our guys showed a lot of resilience and they showed a lot of discipline in being able to deal with their run,” said Providence-St. Mel head coach Tim Ervin. “We knew they were going to make a run, so our guys responded well by making sure they kept the lead. I kept reminding the guys that they were still winning, so play like you’re ahead and make sure to stick to the game plan.”

Small (17 points, six rebounds) came up big in the fourth quarter, scoring seven points, including the momentum-shifting three-pointer.

“I knew this was a really big game, and I knew what my team expected of me. I didn’t want to let them down,” said Small. “I had to step up. I didn’t have my greatest game today, but I just gave my all in the fourth quarter.”

The Knights trailed 13-12 early in the second quarter, but went on a 18-3 run to take a 30-16 lead into halftime. Providence-St. Mel scored the first four points of the second half to extend their lead to 18.

The Knights’ second-quarter run was fueled by their pressure defense. Providence-St. Mel forced Tilden into seven turnovers during the final six minutes of the second quarter.

The Knights’ defense forced the Blue Devils into 22 turnovers in total, including nine steals. Small had four steals to lead Providence-St. Mel.

“That’s our trademark, if we’re not playing good defense, we’re going to have problems,” said Ervin. “These guys love to play defense. That’s our motto, we get the job done by playing defense.”

Tevin King made 12 of 13 free throw attempts and led the Knights with 21 points. The sophomore guard was constantly driving to the basket and drew seven fouls as a result.

“Today my game plan was just to be aggressive,” said King. “Offense and defense, be aggressive. That helps my team win.”

Providence-St. Mel will face Seton Academy in the Joliet Central Super Sectional next Tuesday night.

Small is confident the Knights can keep their playoff run going.

“I feel really confident going into next week,” said Small.

“We’ve been through a lot this season and we work hard in practice. We love each other and have a strong bond, so I think we can keep on this good run in the playoffs.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times and yourseason.com. It appears here.

The Knights warming up before Friday’s sectional final.

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Lake Park Pulls Away From Bartlett, Advances To Regional Title Game

Lake Park might have the best high school gym mural I’ve ever seen.

Lake Park 57 Bartlett 50

Sparked by a furious finish to the third quarter, host Lake Park defeated Bartlett 57-50 Tuesday night in a Class 4A regional semifinal in Roselle.

After trailing the entire first half, Bartlett took a 28-24 lead with five and half minutes left in the third quarter. Lake Park responded with a 15-2 run to close out the third, and took a 39-30 lead into the fourth quarter. The run was led by Zach Wagner, who scored nine points in the third quarter.

“We picked up the defensive intensity and it just translated into momentum on offense,” said Wagner. “After that, we just went on a roll and got confident. We just kept on hitting shot after shot.”

The Lancers continued their run in the fourth quarter, opening up a 15 point lead (51-36) with four minutes left in the final frame. Lake Park outscored the Hawks 27-8 over a 10 minute stretch of the second half to take control of the game.

Dave Prentis made three three-pointers and had 11 points during that stretch.

“There was a point in that third quarter where the game could have gone either way,” said Lake Park head coach Josh Virostko. “If we didn’t get some stops, create some opportunities for ourselves, and they extended that four point lead, we probably lose tonight. We made a run, and got up double-digits pretty quick, and then we controlled the tempo the rest of the way.”

Wagner led Lake Park (19-8) with 19 points and six rebounds, while Dominique Spencer had 16 points and five rebounds for the Lancers.

Bartlett (14-15) was led by Jonathan Leigeber who had 14 points and seven rebounds. Marcus Aluquin and John Moss both had 10 points for the Hawks.

Lake Park will face York Friday night in the championship game of the Lake Park Regional. Virostko knows his Lancers must be up to the task defensively if they are to upset the higher seeded Dukes.

“We’ve hung our hat on the defensive end all year and if we think we’re a defensive team, we’ll prove if we’re fake or for real on Friday,” said Virostko. “York can score and they do an exceptional job of running their stuff. Obviously, we’re not going to stop them, we just want to try to contain them to a point where offensively we can score enough points to beat them.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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East Aurora Ends Regular Season On High Note, Knocks Off Steamwood In OT

East Aurora 68 Streamwood 65

It hasn’t been the easiest of seasons for East Aurora, but the Tomcats were able to finish the regular season with a 68-65 overtime victory over Streamwood in an Upstate Eight Conference Crossover game in Streamwood Thursday night.

“We haven’t been in a lot of close ballgames this year, that was just our third win tonight,” said East Aurora (3-22) head coach Wendell Jeffries. “We lost a very close ballgame Saturday against Batavia where we had a 14 point lead and let it get away, and lost by one point. I think that experience on Saturday, the kids learned from it and they were able to prevail down the stretch. It’s a great thing going into the playoffs Monday at Oswego.”

The game went into overtime after East Aurora sophomore Jonathan Villezcas (8 points, 5 rebounds) made a lay-up as the fourth quarter buzzer sounded.

After DaJon Talbert (19 points, 6 rebounds) missed a three-point attempt, Villezcas grabbed the rebound and put in the lay-up to tie the game at 59-59.

“I knew we were down two, so I just grabbed it and put it up there,” said Villezcas

Talbert made a three-pointer on the Tomcats’ first possession of overtime. East Aurora then did the rest of their scoring from the free throw line, making six of their seven attempts in the extra frame. Streamwood’s Brent Kiesel missed a three-pointer as time ran out, clinching the Tomcats’ third victory of the season.

The Tomcats trailed 27-20 at halftime, but came out of the locker room on fire. East Aurora went on a 16-2 run to take a 42-35 lead midway through the third quarter.

However, Streamwood (4-21) fought back. Brandon Larkin-Guilfoyle (24 points, 6 rebounds) knocked down two free throws to tie the game at 48-48 with 4:20 left in the fourth quarter.

The Tomcats immediately responded with a 6-0 run to take a 54-48 lead, matching their largest advantage of the contest.

The Sabres came right back with a 7-0 run, capped off by a jumper by Jacob Siewert that gave Streamwood a 55-54 lead with two minutes remaining.

After East Aurora recaptured the lead, Siewert hit another go-ahead basket, this time a three-pointer that put the Sabres back on top, 58-57, with just 30 seconds left in the fourth. Ace Agdagdag later split a pair of free throws to extend the Sabres’ lead to 59-57 with 10 seconds remaining.

On the ensuing Tomcat possession, Talbert missed a three-pointer before Villezcas made the game-tying lay-up.

The Tomcats frustrated the Sabres with a pressure defense all night, forcing 21 Streamwood turnovers.

“We’ve got to execute better on offense, that’s our big thing,” said Streamwood coach Tim Jones. “I know we did some decent things, but we need to rebound better and be aggressive. We can’t turn the ball over like we did, it’s not acceptable”

Zach Harris (18 points, 12 rebounds) was able to notch a double-double for the Sabres, who face South Elgin on Monday in the St. Charles North regional.

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Dundee-Crown Bounces Back With A Victory Over Cary-Grove

Dundee-Crown 51 Cary-Grove 34

Dundee-Crown bounced back from two straight heart-breaking defeats with a 51-34 victory over Cary-Grove Tuesday night in Carpentersville.

Brandon Rodriguez led the way for the Chargers with 16 points, including 10 in the first quarter.

“I just wanted to be aggressive after our loss to Crystal Lake South, that was a really tough one,” said Rodriguez. “Plus it was our senior night, I just wanted to give our seniors a night to remember.”

Ben Bradshaw’s lay-up gave Cary-Grove (6-20, 3-9) an early 5-4 lead, but then Rodriguez went off for the Chargers. The guard scored 10 straight points, including a three-pointer as the first quarter buzzer sounded. The Chargers (16-9, 9-3) led 14-5 going in the second quarter.

The Dundee-Crown run stretched to 13-0 after Kyle Bernhard (12 points, 7 rebounds) knocked down a three-pointer early in the second quarter that gave the Chargers a 17-5 advantage.

Ryan Arquette hit a jumper late in the third quarter, capping off an 8-2 Cary-Grove run and the Trojans went into halftime down 21-14.

Arquette then hit a three-pointer early in the third quarter that pulled the Trojans within four at 21-17.

However, Rodriguez quickly responded with a lay-up that sparked an 8-0 run. The Chargers never looked back and led by as much as 19 points in the fourth quarter.

The Chargers’ defense forced the Trojans into 18 turnovers, including 12 steals. Bruce Dantzler and JT Beasley each had three steals for Dundee-Crown.

“I thought we did some good things defensively, the guys played hard,” said Dundee-Crown head coach Lance Huber. “We’ve still got some room to improve on defense, but anytime you keep the other team to 34 points like we did tonight, you’re going to have a pretty good chance to win.”

While Huber was happy his team was able to snap their losing streak, he was more pleased they were able to notch a win on senior night.

“It was nice to see us come out on top, especially for the seniors, they’ve been here for four years busting it hard,” said Huber. “We have a couple of them who don’t play a lot, and it was nice to get them all some minutes tonight. I think it’s more about them, it’s nice to send them out on a high note.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times and yourseason.com.

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Huntley Plays Tough, Defeats Barrington In Physical Battle

Huntley warms up before Saturday’s game against Barrington.

Huntley 38 Barrington 31

Huntley head coach Marty Manning said he scheduled Barrington to expose his Red Raiders to the type of physical play that awaits the team in the upcoming state playoffs.

Manning got what he wanted as Huntley outlasted Barrington 38-31 in a defensive grinder Saturday night in Huntley.

“They were very physical with us, they fought through all our screens. Coming from the MSL, they play a lot of bigger teams, and I guess you could say a lot of better teams,” said Huntley guard Bryce Only, who had nine points and six rebounds off the bench. “That’s going to help us in the playoffs, we have four or five teams that play pretty physical basketball in regionals.”

The game was typified by the competitive battle inside between Huntley (24-2) sophomore Amanze Egekeze and BarringReton (18-9) senior John Schneider. Egekeze, who led the Red Raiders with 10 points, said he knew going into the game that it would be a tough night for him.

“I knew he was going to try to bottle me up, so I tried not to let it get to my head and just keep cool. Obviously, I’m not the strongest guy, so it was a tough battle there, I just tried to help out,” said Egekeze. “The main thing for me was just keeping my cool. He did the same thing to me last year, and I lost my way and let him get to me. This time I thought I did a better job, I took what he gave me and was able to capitalize on the opportunities.”

Schneider led the Broncos with 13 points, 11 of them in the second half. Barrington head coach Bryan Tucker thought his team could have gotten Schnieder more touches.

“I just think we probably could have gotten the ball inside a little more in the first half, and it could have been a different story,” said Tucker. “Our kids started getting it into Schneider, and in the second half, he did some really good things for us.”

Huntley led wire-to-wire, but the Red Raiders were never able to pull away from the Broncos. Huntley led 9-5 after the first quarter and went into halftime up 15-11.

The Red Raiders were ahead 25-22 going into the fourth quarter and quickly expanded their lead with a 7-2 run to begin the final frame. Egekeze’s layup with four and a half minutes left gave Huntley a 32-24 lead, their biggest of the game.

Brad Zaumseil (10 points) hit a three-pointer with 29 seconds left to pull the Broncos within three points at 34-31.

The Red Raiders were then able to knock down their final four free throw attempts and held on for the victory.

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times and yourseason.com

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Jeske, Despot Come Up Big As Glenbard South Wins On Senior Night

Matt Jeske led the Raiders with 24 points on senior night.

Glenbard South 67 Marmion Academy 61

Behind the senior duo of Matt Jeske and Dusko Despot, Glenbard South was able to secure victory on its senior night. Twelve seniors were honored before the Raiders’ 67-61 win over Marmion Academy in Glen Ellyn Friday night.

Jeske led the Raiders with 24 points, while Despot had 16 points and five rebounds.

“Winning on senior night was really important,” said Jeske. “After losing a couple of games on the road, we really needed to pick things up, especially with playoffs coming around the corner. It was a good performance, but hopefully we can peak at the right time and play well in the playoffs.”

The 6’5 Jeske made the most of his size advantage, attacking the paint all night.

“I was just thankful that my teammates found me inside, I got a lot of good post feeds,” said Jeske. “I just tried to keep on working, because I thought I had a mismatch inside. Once I started scoring, I just started feeling it. It was just one of those nights.”

The teams went back and forth in the first quarter, swapping leads six times. The scored was tied 17-17 after the first, but the Raiders went on an 8-0 run over the first two minutes of the second quarter to take a 25-17 lead. Glenbard South (12-11) held on to the lead for the rest of the game.

Marmion (13-12) went into halftime down 38-33, but the Cadets got within two points of the Raiders quickly in the third quarter. Jeff Garofalo converted an old-fashioned three-point play on the first possession of the second half, making the score 38-36.

However, the Raiders responded, going on another 8-0 run to extend their lead. Glenbard South led by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter.

While Glenbard South head coach Wade Hardtke was happy to win on senior night, he was more pleased that his team was able to notch a win against a quality opponent.

“Senior night is always a big night for the kids, but right now this is a big win for us because that’s a great ball club we played,” said Hardtke. “Marmion is scrappy and they shoot the ball well, and that’s what makes tonight’s win a good win for us.”

Garofalo led the Cadets with 14 points, while Pete Stefanski added 13 points.

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times and yourseason.com

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Brittany Mitchell’s Buzzer-Beater Sends Seton Academy Into Super-Sectional

Seton Academy 45 Westminster Christian 42

With her team trailing at halftime, Seton Academy’s Brittany Mitchell knew it was her time to take over. And she did not disappoint.

Mitchell scored 17 points in the second half and knocked down the game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer as the Sting defeated Westminster Christian 45-42 to win the Willows Academy Class 1A Sectional on Thursday in Des Plaines.

“It’s my last year. I just felt like it was my team, and today I had to take over. I’m the senior, the captain. I just had to do it for my team,” said an emotional Mitchell.

Westminster’s McKaila Hays made a layup to even the score 42-42 with eight seconds left. Mitchell then took the inbound pass and dribbled down the right side of the court. As time was ticking down, she threw up the game-winning shot.

“It was unbelievable. The shot felt good, just like the rest of them. But, I’m just happy it went in,” said Mitchell.

Westminster got off to a sloppy start, turning the ball over ten times in the first quarter. After Hays tied the game 4-4 with a lay-up, the Warriors turned the ball over on seven straight possessions. The Sting capitalized, going on a 7-0 run. Sophomore Ebony Bailey tallied nine points and four rebounds in the first quarter and the Sting led 13-9 after eight minutes of play.

Whitney Vanden Bos knocked down two free throws to give the Warriors their first lead of the game, 16-15, with just under three minutes remaining in the second quarter. Westminster dominated the second quarter, outscoring the Sting 15 to six, and went into halftime with a 24-19 lead.

The third quarter was the Brittany Mitchell show. Mitchell made three three-pointers and scored 12 points in the third quarter. The senior capped off a 16-2 Sting run with a four-point play that set off an eruption in the Seton student section. The Sting went into the fourth quarter with a 35-30 lead.

“They didn’t break, they didn’t crack, they stayed strong the whole time. We came in the locker room down five points, and we hadn’t been down at all the entire playoffs,” said Seton head coach Kevin Green. “So we came in with our heads low and had a nice speech from our assistant coach, and we came out and reacted in the second half.”

Seton went ice cold after their big third quarter run, going seven minutes without a point. However, the Warriors were only able to score four points during the Sting’s drought.

Westminster’s Claire Speweik completed an old-fashioned three-point play to tie the score 37-37 with three and half minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Hays split a pair of free-throws to give the Warriors their first lead of the fourth quarter, 40-39, with 35 seconds left.

On the ensuing Sting possession, Bailey drove to the basket, put in a lay-up off the glass and got fouled. The sophomore made the free throw to give Seton a 42-40 lead with 16 seconds left.

Hays then took the inbounds pass for Westminster and sprinted down the court. The sophomore put in a lightly contested lay-up to tie the score at 42 with just eight seconds remaining.

“That was my mistake,” said Green. “I thought we were up three and I told them ‘let them go to the basket and score’ so we could get it out real quick. But, Brittany saved me today.”

Mitchell took the inbounds pass, raced down the court, and swished the game-winning three-pointer. Mitchell soon found herself on the bottom of a dog-pile of her teammates and some Seton fans.

“Brittany turned it up big time. She really did,” said Green, who’s in his first year coaching for the Sting. “Brittany and me had a talk and I told her we’re going to go as far as she helps us go. And tonight, she helped us go where we needed to go.”

Mitchell led Seton (24-8) with 20 points, while Bailey had 15 points, five rebounds and five steals for the Sting.

Hays led the Warriors (22-9) with 14 points, while Speweik and Porsche Griggs both added eight points.

Seton Academy advances to Monday’s supersectional against Freeport-Aquin in DeKalb with high expectations.

“I’m excited to make it this far,” said Mitchell. “But I just want to win it all.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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