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Plano Rebounds Well After Huge Loss To Seneca
Reapers Use Big Fourth Quarter To Rout Wilmington

By Bill Lidinsky

Thank goodness that the Plano High School varsity basketball team has a short memory. On Tuesday Jan. 24, the Reapers were completely dismantled at Seneca by the very lopsided score of 79-21. Keep in mind however that the Fighting Irish from Seneca are the No. 1 ranked team in the IHSA’s Class A division within a record of 21-0. But sometimes a huge loss even to a powerful team such as Seneca can have a long lasting negative impact on the rest of the season.

Fortunately for Plano and their collective psyche, the defeat at the hands of the Irish was remembered about as long as it took to get showered and climb on the bus to return home.

Because on Friday Jan. 27, the Reapers used balanced scoring, tough defense, and a terrific fourth quarter of play to earn a blowout win of their own as they downed Wilmington at home by the score of 58-37 in another Interstate Eight Conference game.

“I think the way we rebounded after the embarrassing loss to Seneca says something about our team,” said Plano senior Matt Priesman. “We were able to bounce back immediately, forget about the defeat, and refocus to play a great second half against Wilmington.”

The visiting Wildcats actually tested the Reapers early as they did in Plano’s narrow 38-36 victory at Wilmington on Jan. 13.

The game was tight in the opening stages with the Reapers up 15-12 at the six minute mark of the second period. That’s where Priesman started to take over. Coming off the bench for the fourth consecutive game, the senior caught fire with three straight three-pointers for Plano in the first half. The last two came as the Reapers took a 23-17 lead going into the locker room at the half.

“Even though we only gave up 17 points in the first two quarters, I was fuming because I didn’t think we gave our best defensive effort,” said Plano head basketball coach Nate Spriggs. “Matt really stepped up in the first half with threes to keep us going offensively. In the second half we finally started to defend and as a result we capitalized on turnovers and got some easy buckets.”

But the defense really wouldn’t pick up for Plano until the fourth quarter. After leading only 39-32 after three periods, the Reapers clamped down on the Wildcats in the final eight minutes allowing only five Wilmington fourth quarter points while scoring 19 to go on to the 21 point victory.

Junior Obina Agoma was huge in the final period scoring all of his game total of 10 points along with collecting 11 rebounds on the night.

“O.B. went to the glass really well. Even when he didn’t score he’d tip it and keep the ball alive and give other guys opportunities to score. He had a very good game especially in the fourth quarter,” Spriggs said.

Priesman and junior Brook Bott led all scorers with 12 points apiece. In addition to Priesman’s fine shooting, Bott played equally as well shooting five-of-nine from the field.

“My three-point shot wasn’t too good in the first half but I knocked down a couple in the last two periods, so I feel I’m starting to come around with my shooting,” Bott said.

Also adding to the balanced attack was senior Will Brown with eight points and nine rebounds. Senior Alex Jensen also notched eight along with six rebounds and 10 assists.

“I can’t find my shot right now so I’m trying to go to the bucket and create for my teammates. I seem to be passing the ball well so I just did what I could in order to win against Wilmington,” Jensen said.

With the split on the week the Reapers move their overall record to 10-13 and 4-6 in the Interstate Eight.

Next up are two home games this week. On Tuesday the Reapers play host to Coal City. Then on Friday Dwight will visit Plano as the Reapers wind down the regular season schedule with only four games to go.

On Wednesday evening Plano will find out where they will play and where they will be seeded in the upcoming IHSA regional playoffs. The Reapers will either compete in the Serena or Somonauk regionals. Seneca figures to be the top seed at Somonauk, while Serena surly will nail down the top spot as hosts in their own regional.

No team wants to face the Irish in the playoffs. So the Reapers will hope for a berth at Serena along with two good performances at home this week against Coal City and Dwight as they try to build momentum toward the post season.

“We need to get on a hot streak as we move toward the end of the regular season,” Spriggs said. “I hope we can get into the favorable regional at Serena where I definitely feel we have a good shot at winning. But if we get sent to Somonauk to play Seneca, we’ll surly take our best game there and see what happens. I’d much prefer to be at Serena, but we’ll come to play no matter where we’re seeded or placed.”

Plano 58, Wilmington 37

At Wilmington, the Reapers improved to 4-6 in Interstate Eight Conference play with a 21-point home victory over the Wildcats.

Plano (10-13, 4-6) led 39-32 after three quarters, before pulling away in the fourth after outscoring Wilmington 19-5.

Brook Bott and Matt Priesman each scored 12 points to lead the Reapers. Obina Agomo added 10 points and 11 rebounds.

WILMINGTON (37) -- Brooks 0 0-0 0, Mitchell 2 1-2 5, Lacy 4 0-0 8, Gans 0 0-0 0, Blidudzius 1 0-0 2, Tafoya 0 0-0 0, Russell 3 3-4 11, Busch 2 0-0 4, Sweeney 3 0-0 7, Hnat 0 0-0 0, Welps 0 0-2 0. Totals 15 4-8 37.

PLANO (58) -- Green 0 0-0 0, Kebbah 0 0-0 0, Goldsmith 0 0-0 0, Agomo 4 2-3 10, Bott 5 0-0 12, Haws 0 0-0 0, Smith 1 0-0 2, Nelson 3 0-1 6, Loux 0 0-0 0, Jensen 4 0-0 8, Priesman 4 0-0 12, Brown 3 2-2 8, Diaz 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 406 58.

Wilmington          8 9 15  5 -- 37

Plano (10-13, 4-6) 15 8 16 19 -- 58

3-point baskets -- Wilmington 3 (Russell 2, Sweeney), Plano 6 (Priesman 4, Bott 2).

Coal City 63, Sandwich 52

At Coal City, the Indians dropped an I-8 contest to the host Coalers.

Sandwich led 16-14 after one quarter, but were outscored 39-36 over the final three quarters.

Lance Futrell paced the Indians (10-11, 5-5) with 21 points. Travis VanPelt added 16 points.

SANDWICH (52) -- Buttels 0 2-3 2, Ritchie 1 1-2 3, Futrell 8 4-5 21, Meyer 1 6-6 8, Roach 1 0-0 2, VanPelt 7 1-2 16. Totals 18 14-18 52.

COAL CITY (63) -- Smith 1 3-4 5, Rouse 5 1-2 12, Shefina 10 3-4 23, Darling 4 2-2 11, McDowell 1 0-0 3, Watters 3 3-3 9. Totals 24 12-15 63.

Sandwich (10-11, 5-5) 16  9 12 15 -- 52

Coal City             14 15 14 20 -- 63

3-point baskets -- Sandwich 2 (Futrell, VanPelt), Coal City 3 (Rouse, Darling, McDowell).