Boys Basketball: Hillcrest outlast Rich East for sectional title
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media March 8, 2013 10:18PM
Hillcrest players celebrate their sectional championship. | Allen Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
CLASS 3A SUPERSECTIONALS
(all games Tuesday)
AT DEKALB (NIU)
Wheaton St. Francis
vs. Limestone, 6 p.m.
AT HOFFMAN ESTATES
North Chicago vs. Orr, 7:30 p.m.
AT JOLIET CENTRAL
vs. Hillcrest, 7:30 p.m.
Chatham Glenwood, 7:30 p.m.
CLASS 4A SUPERSECTIONALS
(all games Tuesday)
AT CHICAGO STATE
New Trier vs. Simeon, 7:30 p.m.
AT DEKALB (NIU)
vs. Stevenson, 8 p.m.
AT HINSDALE CENTRAL
West Aurora vs.
Proviso East, 8 p.m.
AT NORMAL (ILLINOIS STATE)
vs. Edwardsville, 7:30 p.m.
Updated: April 11, 2013 6:39AM
By the time the final minute of Friday’s battle with Rich East for the Class 3A Rich South Sectional title came around, Hillcrest guard Jovan Mooring was limping, trying to fight off cramps. The Hawks’ Devin Harrison was grabbing his throat, victim of an inadvertent slap while battling inside.
The Hawks may have been a little battered, but they certainly weren’t broken thanks in large part to Mooring, Harrison and Kyle Oden.
The trio combined for 52 points, with Harrison’s eight in the fourth quarter looming especially large, as the Hawks pulled away late for a 74-64 win in Richton Park.
“It was an up-and-down game and there was a lot of fatigue on both sides late,” Mooring said. “We fought through it. That was the difference.”
Oden finished with 19 points, six rebounds and five assists. Mooring added 17 points and five rebounds, and Harrison 16 points for No. 4 Hillcrest (24-6), which will meet Morgan Park in Tuesday’s Joliet Central Supersectional.
Don Henderson (16 points, 6 rebounds) and Ronald Lawton (14 points, 14 rebounds) led No. 5 Rich East (20-7), the pair dominating the paint most of the way.
With its trap defense wreaking havoc, Hillcrest looked poised to pull away on numerous occasions in the first three quarters, but the Rockets always had the answer.
After the Hawks took a 43-36 lead with just over five minutes left in the third, East responded by closing the quarter on a 12-5 run, tying the game at 48 when Russell Wright went coast to coast for a layup in the final minute.
The teams traded blows early in the fourth, and Hillcrest led 58-56 before Harrison knocked down his second three-pointer of the quarter for a five-point lead with 3:44 to go.
The Hawks never looked back.
“We gained a lot of momentum,” Harrison said. “Our penetration left me open; I just caught the passes and knocked them down.
“We picked up our intensity in the fourth quarter and turned on the pressure.”
The Hawks forced turnovers leading to easy baskets by Mooring and Oden that stretched the lead to 66-58. Harrison hit two free throws with 31 seconds left for a 70-62 lead to seal it.
“(Harrison) was a ‘B’ player as a freshman,” Hillcrest coach Don Houston said. “For him to develop into a player that hits big shots in games like this says a lot about him.”
The Rockets’ 8-2 spurt at the end of a back-and-forth first half gave them a 36-35 lead at the break.
“We emphasized rebounding at halftime,” Houston said. “I told our bigs, ‘If you want to go home, keep playing like this.’ ”
Hillcrest and Morgan Park will meet for the third straight postseason. Hillcrest won a sectional final last year to avenge a sectional semifinal loss in 2011.
Delmon Brame had 10 points and five rebounds for the Hawks.
Nick Horne scored 13 points for Rich East, which fell just short of its first sectional title since 1955.
“The kids from both schools showed what south suburban basketball is all about,” Rich East coach George Leonard said. “I am proud of each and every one of my kids, especially the seniors. They brought pride to our program and our school.”