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Hoops Produce Encouraging Week
Reapers Rout Sandwich, Just Miss At Lisle
By Bill Lidinsky - Plano Record
Had it not been for one sub par quarter, the Plano High School varsity basketball team might be looking at a pair of impressive victories instead of a 1-1 mark during Interstate Eight Conference play last week.
On Tuesday Jan. 17, the Reapers completely dominated arch rival Sandwich at home with a 79-59 trouncing. Then on Friday Jan. 20, Plano was poised to pull off a major upset playing the fifth ranked team in the IHSA’s Class A division. But a poor third quarter left the Reapers short in a 69-55 loss to the powerful Lisle Lions.
“We finally came together as a team last week for the first time this year,” said Plano head coach Nate Spriggs. “Against Sandwich we were in total command from the start and had we not had one bad quarter at Lisle, I believe we would have pulled off the upset.”
Against the Lions, the Reapers rode the hot shooting of junior guard Brook Bott to keep close against a Lisle team that dominated them earlier in the year at Plano. The Reapers trailed 33-30 at the half before going cold in the third period and getting outscored 21-10 to fall behind 54-40.
Plano made several runs at Lisle down the stretch but ended up losing by the 14 point margin.
“I was very proud of the way our guys played at Lisle. We only had 10 turnovers, but when you’re playing a state ranked team you can’t have double digit giveaways,” Spriggs said. “We played a great zone defense, but they shot extremely well against us. Brook really kept us in the game with five three-pointers in the first half but it was the third quarter that killed us.”
Bott led the Reapers with 20 points including six triples and a seven-for-11 shooting night from the field. Senior Will Brown added 12, while senior Alex Jensen chipped in with 12 assists. But it was the play of Bott that really sparkled despite the tough loss.
“I came out and hit my first three and after that everything felt real good. Al kept feeding it too me and I was able to knock em down,” Bott said. “We came out a little flat in the third period or else I think we could’ve upset Lisle. But overall I’m really pleased with what a great week we put together and I personally feel that we’re now playing the best basketball that we’ve played since last season. The big win versus Sandwich showed that and so did the game at Lisle despite us taking a loss.”
Against the Indians, Plano did indeed play one of their best games of the year against a Sandwich team that was riding a four game winning streak.
The Reaper zone defense was solid in the first quarter forcing the Indians into multiple turnovers as Plano took a 20-10 lead after one quarter of play.
In the second period, Reaper senior Matt Priesman took over. For the first time this season Priesman did not start. Spriggs elected to bring him off the bench hoping to correct a minor shooting slump that Priesman had been experiencing.
The move paid off as Priesman knocked down 10 second quarter points including a three-point bomb at the buzzer to give Plano a 39-25 advantage going into the locker room at the half.
“It’s quite a change starting for a year and a half straight to now coming off the bench,” Priesman said. “Coach Spriggs did the right thing bringing me in off the bench because it took some pressure off me and I was more relaxed with my shot when I did come in.”
Priesman continued his hot hand in the second half with eight third period points including two triples as the Reapers stretched their lead to 65-45 after three periods.
“Matt could’ve sulked and complained about not starting. But instead he came out, defended well, and knocked down a bunch of big shots for us. His performance really helped key one of the best games we’ve played all season,” Spriggs said.
Priesman finished with a team high 20 points as Plano held tough throughout the fourth quarter to gain the double digit victory.
“It was our best rebounding game all year. We owned the defensive boards and it proved to me that we can rebound with the best of them. Mike Meyer from Sandwich is one of the top rebounders in the I-8 and we did a pretty good job of controlling him,” Spriggs said.
Meyer had 18 points for the Indians, while junior teammate Lance Futrell led all scorers with 21.
Jensen also had a huge game for the Reapers just missing a triple double with 19 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. His overall court leadership and poise coupled with Priesman’s performance to give Plano the huge edge versus Sandwich which fell to 8-10 overall and 3-4 in the I-8.
“I was teasing Brook that he stole a rebound from me and missed a lay-up or I would’ve gotten my triple double,” Jensen said. “But seriously we were determined to win and show that we’re gaining some chemistry as we move down the stretch in the season.”
Despite the loss at Lisle the continuity does seem to be building for the Reapers.
They now face a tough ballgame at Seneca on Tuesday. The Irish are the top ranked team in Class A at 20-0, so Plano may be hard pressed there to improve on their 9-12 overall mark and 3-5 I-8 record.
But after Seneca the Reapers will play their last four of five regular season games at home including a Friday night contest as host to Wilmington. Plano narrowly defeated the Wildcats on Jan. 13 by the score of 38-36. This time however the Reapers feel they’re confident in moving forward.
“I believe we have the best team chemistry we’ve seen all year right now. Getting such a huge win against our main rival and then playing so well against one of the best teams in the state is a big accomplishment,” Spriggs said. “We’ll see Sandwich again at the end of the year. We’re 2-1 against them now this season and we believe we can beat them again hopefully during a string of wins. But first we have to play well at Seneca and then go get Wilmington at home to continue what we’ve got going.”
The fourth and final game between Plano and Sandwich is scheduled for Friday Feb. 10 on the Indians home court.
From the Ottawa Times
Seneca 67, Coal City 25
At Seneca, the streak grew to 20 for the Irish for the undefeated and No. 1 state ranked Irish as they jumped out early and never looked back in a 42-point Interstate Eight win over the visiting Coalers.
"We got out to a 16-0 lead and just kind of built from there," Seneca coach Doug Evans said.
Travis Misener had 14 points to lead Seneca (20-0, 8-0) on the night, while Griffan Callahan had 11 and Robert Rexroade 10.
The Irish are back in action on Tuesday, hosting Plano in anothe I-8 game.
COAL CITY (25) -- Smith 0 6-8 6, McClean 2 0-0 5, Trafton 1 3-4 5, Satini 1 0-0 2, McDowell 1 0-0 3, Watters 2 2-4 4. Totals 7 11-16 25.
SENECA (67) -- Hobbs 3 0-0 7, Misener 5 2-2 14, Evans 1 0-3 3, Hetelle 2 0-0 6, Gr. Callahan 4 3-3 11, Underhill 0 1-2 1, Ga. Callahan 3 0-0 7, Rexroade 5 0-0 10, Hogue 1 0-0 2, Andreatta 2 2-2 6. Totals 26 8-12 67.
Coal City 4 14 2 5 -- 25
Seneca (20-0, 8-0) 16 25 17 9 -- 67
Sandwich 49, Wilmington 45
At Wilmington, this was a back-and-forth game throughout, as Sandwich led 17-13 after one, led 22-20 at the half, trailed 31-27 after three but then closed the game on a 22-14 run to top the host Wildcats by four in this Interstate Eight clash.
Mike Meyer led the way for Sandwich (9-10, 4-4) with 14 points, while Nate Roach had 12, Travis VanPelt 10 and Lance Futrell nine.
The Indians are back in action on Tuesday, traveling to Braidwood for an I-8 contest with Reed-Custer.
SANDWICH (49) -- Ritchie 0 3-6 3, Futrell 4 1-1 9, Meyer 3 8-10 14, Weismiller 0 1-4 1, Roach 4 2-2 12, VanPelt 3 3-4 10. Totals 13 18-27 49.
WILMINGTON (45) -- Tafoye 1 0-0 2, Mitchell 1 0-0 2, Sweeney 4 10-14 19, Welps 2 0-0 4, Russell 0 2-2 2, Bush 2 0-0 4, Bliudzus 3 0-0 6, Lacy 2 0-0 6. Totals 15 12-16 45.
Sandwich (9-10, 4-4) 17 5 5 22 -- 49
Wilmington 13 7 11 14 -- 45
3-point baskets -- Sandwich 3 (Roach 2, VanPelt), Wilmington 3 (Lacy 2, Sweeney).
Lisle 69, Plano 55
At Lisle, one tough quarter continued to be the story for the Reapers, getting outscored 21-10 in the third quarter as Lisle took control of what had been a 3-point game at halftime in this Interstate Eight matchup.
Brook Bott led the Plano offense with 20 points, while Will Brown had 12, Obina Agomo eight and Alex Jensen with just five points, but 12 assists.
The Reapers (9-12, 3-5) return to action on Tuesday, traveling to Seneca for another I-8 game.
PLANO (55) -- Priesman 2 0-0 5, Brown 5 2-4 12, Nelson 2 0-0 5, Green 0 0-0 0, Jensen 1 3-5 5, Bott 7 0-0 20, Agomo 3 2-3 8, Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 7-12 55.
LISLE (69) -- Milner 0 4-5 4, Heizer 0 1-2 1, Schmitz 8 3-4 24, Busch 1 0-0 3, Wenclawski 5 3-4 18, Beckman 6 3-5 19, Shodipo 1 2-2 4, Saul 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 16-22 69.
Plano (9-12, 3-5) 14 16 10 15 -- 55
Lisle 13 20 21 15 -- 69
3-point baskets -- Plano 8 (Bott 6, Priesman, Nelson), Lisle 11 (Schmitz 5, Wenclawski 5, Busch).