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Boys Basketball Romeoville Christmas Classic: Shepard falls to Oswego East in semifinals

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Updated: February 27, 2014 4:24AM

Oswego East went on the offensive during the large school championship game of the Romeoville Christmas Classic Saturday in Romeoville.

The result was a 64-51 win over Shepard and the Wolves’ first Christmas championship game appearance in school history. The Wolves (4-7) face Glenbard South or Oak Forest in the overall championship game at 8 p.m. Monday.

Oswego East had 16 offensive rebounds and forced 28 Shepard turnovers.

The Wolves outrebounded the Astros 38-29.

“This was the first game all year or maybe second we won the rebounding battle,” Oswego East coach Steve Szymanski said. “That led to some points for us and put us in position to win.”

“They did a nice job defensively and crashing the glass,” Shepard coach Tony Chiuccariello said. “They did a great job of denial defense.”

“I think we turned them over 16 times in the first half and we turned up our defense in the second half,” Szymanski said.

Oswego East did not score a two-point basket, but led 8-6 after a sluggish first quarter. Jacob Littleton’s bucket with 5:30 left in the second quarter capped an 8-0 Shepard run, giving the Astros a 14-8 lead.

The Wolves responded with a 10-0 run of their own. Demetrius Ewing’s two free throws with 2:34 to go in the half gave the home team on the scoreboard an 18-14 lead.

Littleton ended the run with a three-pointer, cutting the lead to 18-17. Devin Flowers’ driving layup late in the quarter gave Oswego East a 25-22 lead at the intermission.

The first half featured three ties and four lead changes.

Cohen’s three-pointer two minutes into the third quarter tied the game at 27-27.

A three-pointer by Jeremy Mitchell capped an 8-2 run, giving the Wolves a 35-29 lead with 3:35 left in the third. A putback by Ross, capping a four-point trip, gave Oswego East a 39-32 lead with 1:20 left in the third. Oswego East took a 41-34 lead into the final quarter.

The Wolves went on a 10-2 run to start the fourth quarter to end all doubt.

Houston McCullum (15 points), Mike McAlister (14) and Ewing (13 points, 14 rebounds) all reached double figures for the Wolves. Littleton’s 26 points led all scorers.

“The biggest things we needed to do was become a unit and I think we’ve done that here,” Szymanski said. “That’s good to see. Hopefully, we can get better and continue to build on that.”

Shepard (5-6) will play in the third-place game at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

“Obviously Kyle (Longfield, a 6-4 forward) is injured and somebody has to step up,” Chiuccariello said. “We have to do a better job of rebounding, especially in free throw situations.”

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