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Regular Season Finale In OT
Reapers Jensen Named To I-8 All Conference Squad
By Bill Lidinsky
It wasn’t the way Alex Jensen and Will Brown envisioned their Senior Night ending, but they sure helped make it very exciting. Playing in their last regular season home varsity basketball game for Plano High School on Friday Feb. 17, Jensen and Brown along with the rest of their Reaper teammates came up on the short end of a 60-55 overtime thriller against Reed-Custer.
The two seniors along with junior Obina Agomo accounted for all but one of the Plano point total as the Reapers came within an eyelash of sending Jensen and Brown out on a winning note.
Plano fell behind early trailing 18-9 after one period of play but slowly sliced into the Comet’s lead as the game wore on.
After the Reapers cut Reed-Custer’s advantage to 27-23 at the half, the third quarter was played at a near stalemate as the Comets took a 40-35 lead into the final eight minutes.
That’s where Agomo scored seven of his game high 21 points including a bucket off a strong rebound to give the Reapers their first lead of the contest at 46-45 with two and a half minutes to play.
“Obi was a difference maker for us tonight along with Al and Will in the lane. He was a rebounding machine and got great position on the low block,” said Plano head basketball coach Nate Spriggs. “He was creating great looks for himself and as a result he also put the ball in the hole and kept us in the game when we struggled with our outside shooting.”
Reed-Custer would score the next five of six points to take a 50-47 lead with just 25 seconds to play.
But appropriately Jensen wouldn’t let his team die. With just seconds to go on the other end, Jensen’s first three ball missed with ten clicks left on the clock. Plano got the offensive rebound and kicked back out to junior Brook Bott who also missed a three with six seconds left. The ball then caromed to Jensen who quickly reloaded and nailed a triple with 2.8 seconds to go tying the score at 50. As the home crowd went wild both teams proceeded to overtime.
“I missed my first shot that I was wide open on, but I was fortunate enough to hit the one where I had someone in my face,” Jensen said. “It’s kind of ironic because I didn’t shoot the ball well tonight but I was able to chuck one up and get us into overtime.”
The two teams traded a pair of baskets in the four minute overtime to bring the score to 54-54. But Reed-Custer junior Gavin Johnston nailed his own big three ball with 2:10 left to go and the Reapers couldn’t recover and went on to lose by five.
“Al gave us a chance with the big three that got us into overtime. But we shot horribly from the field on the night and that hurt us,” Spriggs said. “We out-rebounded them 43-27 for the game but it wasn’t quite enough to get us over the hump.”
Plano shot only 13 percent (3-of-23) from the three point arch, while Reed-Custer nailed 10-of-26 triples and that proved to be a big difference in the ballgame.
In addition to Agomo’s 21, Jensen knocked down 20 with 10 rebounds, while Brown notched 13 points and five boards as Plano ended the regular season with a 11-16 overall record and a 5-9 mark in the Interstate Eight Conference good enough for sixth place in the league.
“Tough times come and go. Tough people don’t. Many might look at this year after the great season we had last year and think that we struggled,” Spriggs said. “Maybe we did a little this time around. But in the 66 years of Plano basketball only three other teams have won more games than Al and Will did in their junior and senior years. I hate to see them go out with a loss on their Senior Night but they are examples of tough people who never quit and our season is not over yet.”
Plano entered the IHSA Class A regional playoff on Tuesday night at Somonauk as the seventh seed taking on the host and eight seeded Bobcats.
Earlier in the year the Reapers beat Somonauk 73-60. With a win Plano will advance to the regional semifinals at Somonauk on Thursday at 6p.m. where they will battle undefeated and top ranked Seneca who currently are a perfect 28-0 on the season.
“We’re going to go and hopefully get Somonauk again to give us at least a chance to play Seneca. We know that would be difficult but all you can ask for is the opportunity to go out and battle as hard as you can and you never know what can happen,” Spriggs said. “I know with seniors like Al and Will along with Obi, Brook, and the rest of this team, we will never give up. As long as we play hard that’s all I could ever ask for.”
Jensen was awarded with some big I-8 honors on Saturday as the league coaches voted him as one of ten all conference performers. Jensen was the fourth highest vote getter behind Garrett Callahan, Robert Rexroade, and Griffin Callahan all from Seneca. Matt Schmitz and Dan Wenclawski of Lisle, along with Steve Howard from Reed-Custer, Curt Pershnick of Dwight, Mike Meyer from Sandwich, and Brett Smith of Coal City also were awarded top honors for the I-8 behind Jensen who is now an all conference performer for the second straight season.
“It’s always an honor to be selected to the all conference team. It’s especially nice because we play with two of the top ranked teams in the state in Seneca and Lisle. So to make it again this year was quite an honor for me,” Jensen said.
Jensen also was named to the ten player I-8 senior all star team along with Brown. This squad will take on the Little Ten Conference all stars in the annual shoot-out sponsored by the Leland Lions Club. This years game will be held at Plano High School on Saturday March 25 so Jensen and Brown will have one more game together on their home court with Spriggs leading the way for the I-8 as head coach.
“It’s great to be able to have one more game on my home court with Al. Now we can play with Callahan and Rexroade and have them be on our side,” Brown said. “It will be really fun especially with coach Spriggs leading us. Hopefully we can get some revenge from last year where the Little Ten put the hurt on the I-8. I can guarantee with the list of players we have this year the I-8 will be ready to go.”
Reed-Custer 60, Plano 55 (OT)
At Plano, the Reapers dropped an I-8 contest to the Comets in overtime.
Reed-Custer led 18-9 after one quarter and built a 27-23 advantage at the half. In the second half, Plano outscored the Comets 27-23 to send the game into overtime. In the extra session, the Reapers outscored Reed-Custer 10-5.
Obina Agomo led Plano (11-16, 5-9) with 21 points and nine rebounds. Alex Jensen added 20 points and 10 rebounds. Will Brown had 13 points.
REED-CUSTER (60) -- Olinger 6 1-2 14, DeVries 1 0-0 3, Howard 6 0-0 16, Johnston 6 5-7 20, Kimbro 0 0-0 0, VanDuyne 1 0-0 3, Kunz 0 0-0 0, R,. Nichols 1 2-2 4, B. Nichols 0 0-0 0, McClanaham 0 0-2 0. Totals 21 8-13 60.
PLANO (55) -- Jensen 6 5-7 20, Loux 0 0-0 0, Bott 0 0-0 0, Agomo 9 3-5 21, Smith 0 0-0 0, Green 0 1-2 1, Brown 6 1-3 13, Nelson 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 10-17 55.
Reed-Custer 18 9 13 10 10 -- 60
Plano (11-16, 5-9) 9 14 12 15 5 -- 55
3-point baskets -- Reed-Custer 10 (Howard 4, Johnsoton 3, Olinger, DeVries, VanDuyne), Plano 3 (Jensen).
Lisle 56, Sandwich 44
At Lisle, the Indians fell to 7-7 in the I-8 after a road loss to the Lions.
Lisle raced out to a 15-5 lead after one quarter and built a 26-13 halftime advantage.
Mike Meyer paced Sandwich (12-15, 7-7) with 10 points.
SANDWICH (44) -- Buttels 1 1-2 3, Futrell 2 0-0 4, Meyer 3 4-4 10, Weismiller 1 0-0 2, Roach 2 0-0 5, VanPelt 1 2-2 4, Weinlader 2 1-2 5, Heibel 2 0-0 4, Munson 2 3-4 7. Totals 16 11-14 44.
LISLE (56) -- Stodipe 4 0-0 9, Kovich 0 1-2 1, Schmitz 5 1-1 13, Milner 1 0-0 2, Wenclawski 4 5-6 15, Zumich 0 1-2 1, Leonard 2 0-0 4, Heizer 40-0 8, Beckman 1 1-2 3. Totals 21 9-15 56.
Sandwich (12-15, 7-7) 5 8 8 23 -- 44
Lisle 15 11 20 10 -- 56
3-point baskets -- Sandwich 1 (Roach), Lisle 5 (Schmitz 2, Wenclawski 2, Shodipe).
Hinckley-Big Rock 55, Somonauk 40
At Somonauk, the Bobcats dropped an LTC contest to the visiting Royals.
Somonauk led 10-7 after one quarter and 25-21 at the half, but were outscored 34-15 after the break.
Scott Powers and Nick Duffield both scored 11 points to lead the Bobcats (8-17, 5-3).
Seneca 72, Dwight 45
At Dwight, the No. 1 Class A state-ranked Fighting Irish wrapped up a perfect record season witn a convincing 27-point Interstate Eight Conference road victory over the Trojans.
Robert Rexroade had seven rebounds, Seth Evans six assists and Griffan Callahan four steals for Seneca (27-0, 14-0).
Coal City 43, Wilmington 36,
Lisle 56, Sandwich 44
Class A No.5 Lisle (20-7, 12-2): Dan Wenclawski 15 pts
Plano 53, Reed-Custer 33
Seneca 72, Dwight 45