Boys Basketball: Tourney-tested Seton heads to state in Class 2A
By Patrick Z. McGavin For Sun-Times Media March 7, 2013 7:58PM
CLASS 2A BOYS BASKETBALL
(at Peoria Civic Center)
Winnebago vs. Seton, 6:30 p.m.
Harrisburg vs. St. Joseph-Ogden, 8:15 p.m.
Third place: 6:30 p.m. Saturday
Championship: 8:15 p.m. Saturday
Updated: March 7, 2013 9:07PM
On the first weekend of January, Seton lost in a Michigan shootout to drop its record to 10-8.
“Of our eight losses, we had the lead or the game was tied in the fourth quarter in seven of those games,” Seton coach Brandon Thomas said then.
Since then, the Sting has gone on a 12-2 run, the difference being it found a way to close out those games.
The Sting captured its last three tournament games by a combined nine points. Seton qualified for its second consecutive Class 2A state finals appearance by edging Providence-St. Mel 46-45 on Wednesday in the Joliet Central Supersectional.
“Since we went to Michigan, we’ve only lost two games, to Brother Rice and St. Rita, and both were close and both were on the road,” Thomas said. “Because we’ve had so many close games, we’ve had a lot of repetition, and we’ve learned in a grind it out game we’re not going to panic.”
Seton meets undefeated Winnebago (32-0) in the first semifinal at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Carver Arena in Peoria.
Star guard Mark Weems Jr. scored 18 points, his season average, in the supersectional victory. Alex Foster, a 6-foot-7 forward, posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
The confident Sting (22-10) enters the state semifinals having both experience and the motivation of reversing last year’s 0-2 final weekend, when it finished fourth in Class 2A.
“Last year was new to everyone, and we didn’t have a lot of experience,” Thomas said. “We had a lot of guys who’d played the year before, but not in that kind of setting.”
Kamal Shasi, a 6-2 guard, has been dynamic in the state tournament. He led the Sting in scoring in its three games leading to the supersectional and hit the game-winner in the sectional semifinal vs. Hales. Johnny Patterson, at 6-7, adds length and rebounding on the interior. Guard Mark Seaton averages nearly 8 points a game.
Seton has been impressive defensively in the second half of the season. In a February win it shut out Marist for nearly 10 minutes.
“For us, everything starts with defense and that’s our mind-set when we come into every game,” Foster said after that game.
Now, the hope is the Sting mimics its own history. The 2009 Class 2A state champion, led by D.J. Cooper, defeated Winnebago in the semifinals.
The champions of the West Division of the Big Northern Conference, the Indians are led by star 6-4 guard Matt Reinke, who averages 17 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists a game. Guard Jacoby Posley contributes 15 points a game.
“We played them last year at their place during the regular season and they were good then and they have their whole team back,” Thomas said. “Coach (Joe) Murphy does a great job. They’ve had five undefeated (regular) seasons. It’s a great program.”
Harrisburg (31-1) and St. Joseph-Odgen (29-3) meet in the other semifinal.