Boys Basketball: Shepard casts aside Lincoln-Way East
By Dick Goss email@example.com December 27, 2013 8:48PM
Shepard's Kyle Longfield shoots while being defended by Lincoln-Way East's Austin Winkler in the 2013 Christmas Classic in Romeoville on Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. | Mike Mantucca / For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 30, 2014 6:43AM
Darren Cohen normally starts at shooting guard.
But if Friday night’s performance off the bench was any indication, the senior might have earned himself a new gig.
Cohen scored a season-high 22 points, including 19 in the second half, to spark Shepard to a 63-56 victory over Lincoln-Way East in a large-school semifinal at the Romeoville Christmas Classic.
Cohen made 8-of-11 shots, and one of his two three-pointers came from beyond midcourt to beat the third-quarter buzzer and lift the Astros (5-5) into a 46-all tie. He scored eight more in a five-minute stretch of the fourth quarter as Shepard turned a 54-53 deficit into a 60-53 lead.
“It was different,” Cohen said of the reserve role. “I always start at the 2-guard, but my job this time was to bring momentum off the bench.”
Nothing creates momentum better than a 55-foot three-pointer to tie the game.
“I practice that shot in practice every day, to be funny,” Cohen said. “I do make some.”
“Darren did a great job,” Shepard coach Tony Chiuccariello said. “He gave us a nice spark. He’s a starter. We started a shooter in his spot because of the zone Lincoln-Way East plays.”
The Griffins (2-7) saw their hopes for a berth in the large-school title game go by the boards when they were unable to convert good looks in the fourth quarter, shooting 3-of-13.
“We struggled with our energy,” East coach Rich Kolimas said. “We need to work on that. We had another slow start. I thought we were over that, but apparently not.
“Then in the fourth quarter, we were getting good looks, some of them right under the basket, and didn’t hit them.”
Josh Jones led the Griffins with 16 points and Clint Nooner added 10. Jacob Littleton had 15 for Shepard.