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Girls Basketball: Hillcrest’s John Maniatis to be inducted into IHSA Girls Basketball Hall of Fame

Hillcrest coach John Maniatis | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media

Hillcrest coach John Maniatis | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 6, 2014 6:18AM



Twenty years ago, John Maniatis had designs on being a boys basketball coach.

Today, he said he wouldn’t have had it any other way than spending his career teaching basketball on the girls side at Hillcrest.

Maniatis, who is 13 wins shy of 500 career victories, will be inducted into the IHSA Girls Basketball Hall of Fame in a ceremony in April at Illinois State University.

“Really humbling,” Maniatis said. “I’ve been very fortunate to have had great assistant coaches around me, and players who have gone on and done great things.

“It helps to have that type of quality student/athlete that we’ve had at Hillcrest over the past 20 years.”

Maniatis, 46, has a 487-100 record (.830 winning percentage), with 15 regional, seven sectional and three supersectional titles. The Hawks finished second in Class 3A in 2010 and ’11 and third in ’12.

In going 228-10, his Hawks teams have won 17 conference titles. From 1996 through 2004, Hillcrest won 87 league games, the third-longest streak in IHSA history.

“If I knew then what I know now some of those teams may have gone a little bit farther than they did,” Maniatis said. “Every day has been a humbling experience, with the amount of energy, passion and pursuit of excellence that the players and the staff have all exhibited to the program.”

His first team (1994-95) was 19-9. Only once since (17-12 in 2004-05) has a Hawks team won fewer games.

“When I first got the job at Hillcrest I thought the vision was to be the head boys basketball coach,” Maniatis said. “When I was able to take the reins (with the girls team) I realized basketball is basketball. Everybody deserves an opportunity to have a chance to be excellent, and there are basketball players on both sides.

“I have no regrets. Making differences in people’s lives is what it’s all about.”

Standing tall

Oak Lawn coach Janet Meyers did a pretty good job of reeling in her emotions after Thursday’s 67-62 overtime loss to Marian Catholic in the Class 4A Bloom Sectional title game.

The subject of heart, though, did bring some mist to her eyes.

“There were so many times they could have given up ... but they kept their composure and rallied and took it into overtime,” Meyers said about a comeback that included scoring seven consecutive points over the final 43 seconds of regulation.

It was a dramatic and powerful final showing for the Spartans, whose 25-1 record going into the state playoffs was less than heralded among most Southland girls basketball followers because of a regular-season schedule that lacked many ranked teams. Wins over Mother McAuley, Marist and the stellar effort against Marian brought some vindication.

“I think we might have got people thinking,” Meyers said. “Everybody has kind of been questioning us, but I don’t know how anybody can question us after this. We were right there with who will probably wind up being the state champions.”

Player of the Week

Jasmine Lumpkin, of Joliet Catholic, is the SouthtownStar Girls Basketball Player of the week.

Lumpkin, a senior forward, scored 25 points in a 78-67 Class 3A sectional semifinal win over Morgan Park, added 27 points and 12 rebounds in a 78-70 sectional final victory over Bishop McNamara and contributed 14 points, eight rebounds and six steals as the Angels beat Washington 56-43 in the Lewis Supersectional.



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