Boys Basketball: Andrew outlasts Marian Catholic
By Pat Disabato email@example.com March 2, 2012 11:22PM
Updated: April 5, 2012 8:17AM
When Marian Catholic’s Tyler Ulis launched not one but two potential game-winning three-point tries in the finals seconds of Friday night’s Class 4A Andrew Regional, Andrew’s Jubril Adekoya was thinking the worst.
“Playing with him (Ulis) over the summer, he hit game-winners like that all the time,” Adekoya said.
Fortunately for a Thunderbolts crowd holding its collective breath, Ulis’ attempts were off the mark, as was his potential game-tying three as the buzzer sounded, as Andrew survived to post a 28-25 victory over the Spartans.
It was Andrew’s first regional championship since 1990. The Thunderbolts (24-2) advance to play Homewood-Flossmoor, a 59-53 winner over Thornwood, on Tuesday in a Lockport Sectional semifinal.
“It’s just a regional, but we haven’t won one in so long that it means a lot,” Adekoya said. “It’s a great feeling.”
The Thunderbolts’ performance from the free-throw line was anything but great. Andrew converted just 7-of-21 attempts. Adekoya, who finished with 13 points, was 5-of-14.
“The last seven or eight games I’m shooting like 80 percent,” Adekoya said. “I’m going to the gym right after this to shoot free throws.”
The poor showing from the stripe allowed Marian Catholic (15-13), which played at a slow tempo throughout, to remain within striking distance. The game was tied at 4 after one quarter before Andrew grabbed a 13-10 halftime edge on Glorind Lisha’s three-point buzzer-beater.
Erik Crittendon’s free throws with 4:26 remaining in the game gave Marian Catholic a 25-24 lead and would mark the Spartans’ final points of the evening.
Ironically, Andrew ended up winning the game from the line. Adekoya converted 2-of-5 free throws down the stretch — one at 3:44 that tied the game at 25 and the other with 56.9 seconds left that extended the lead to 27-25. Tyler Hook’s free throw with 1:59 remaining had given Andrew a 26-25 lead.
Down two, Ulis launched threes with 13.9 ticks left and 5.4 seconds to go. Marian Catholic was forced to foul, sending Andrew’s Mike Bobek to the line. The senior guard split his tries, giving the Thunderbolts a 28-25 lead.
Ulis had one last chance, heaving a trey from just inside halfcourt that bounced off the rim.
“We got good looks,” Marian Catholic coach Mike Taylor said. “We had the ball in Tyler’s hands the last 13 seconds and I thought we were in good shape. The shots just didn’t fall.”
Both teams struggled from the field. The Spartans finished 10-of-28, with Ulis connecting on just 2-of-13 shots. Kevin Phillips came off the bench to lead Marian Catholic in scoring with six points. Ulis had five.
Andrew was 10-of-25, but combined with its 7-of-21 showing from the line, it was lucky to survive.
“We were fortunate to win shooting like that,” Andrew coach Mike O’Halloran said. “I’m sure playing in a big game like this had something to do with it. My knees were shaking on the bench — and I wasn’t even shooting.”