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The cold truth: Weather playing havoc with Southland teams’ schedules

Mt. Carmel's head coach Mike Flaherty (left) has words with David Nichols (right) after Nichols was disqualified charged with technical

Mt. Carmel's head coach Mike Flaherty (left) has words with David Nichols (right) after Nichols was disqualified and charged with a technical during the Crete-Monee boys basketball shootout against Thornwood in Crete, Il., on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. | John Smierciak/For Sun-Times Media

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Rescheduled Games

BOYS BASKETBALL

MAKEUP GAME FROM FRIDAY

Tri-Point at Illinois Lutheran, 7:15 p.m. Wednesday

MAKEUP GAMES FROM TUESDAY

Andrew at Tinley Park, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

Argo at Leyden, 7 p.m. Wednesday

Chicago Christian at Oak Lawn, 7 p.m. Wednesday

Lincoln-Way Central at Shepard, 7 p.m. Wednesday

Seton at Eisenhower, 7 p.m. Wednesday

Morgan Park Academy at U-High, 6:30 p.m. Thursday

St. Anne at Beecher, 7:15 p.m. Thursday

St. Rita at Brother Rice, 3 p.m. Saturday

T.F. South at Rich East, 7 p.m. Monday

Ag. Science at Marist, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27

GIRLS BASKETBALL

MAKEUP GAMES FROM MONDAY

Donovan at Beecher, 6 p.m. Wednesday

Andrew at Bradley, 11:30 a.m. Saturday

MAKEUP GAMES FROM TUESDAY

Thornwood at Lincoln-Way Central, 6 p.m. Wednesday

Sandburg at Joliet Central, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

Ridgewood at Illiana Christian, 7 p.m. Wednesday

Nazareth at Queen of Peace, 6 p.m. Friday

Homewood-Flossmoor at Lockport, 11:30 a.m. Saturday

Universal at Argo, 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Lincoln-Way North at Lincoln-Way West, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 5

Stagg at Lincoln-Way East, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 5

Lemont at Downers Grove North, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 13

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Updated: March 3, 2014 2:44PM



Mike Flaherty thought he had experienced it all during his 40 years of coaching high school basketball.

But then came “Chiberia,” a frigid 1-2 winter weather punch that has the region’s temperature readings more resembling Siberia than Chicago.

Flaherty, of course, has encountered days when games and practices were canceled because of heavy snow — this is Illinois, mind you.

However, he couldn’t recall experiencing the recent extreme weather conditions — what meteorologists refer to as polar vortex — that occurred Jan. 7, and then again Monday and Tuesday, causing school, practices and games throughout the Southland to be canceled.

Temperatures dropped to 11 degrees below zero in the region early Tuesday, with wind chills in the minus-35 degree range. Those conditions are better suited for the Iditarod.

“Obviously, you have the snow days periodically,” said Flaherty, who’s coaching at Mount Carmel after stops at Mendel and Thornridge. “But I don’t remember anything because of the cold — especially so close to one another. We were canceled three weeks ago, and here we are again. There’s not even school, much less playing games. This just seems so out of the ordinary.”

Flaherty recalled a weather occurrence during the second game of his coaching career back in 1975 that forced Mendel to miss a game at a Thanksgiving tournament in Streator.

“It was snowing really bad and I was driving the van with the players and we were looking for the Route 20 exit,” Flaherty recalled. “One of the players who was supposed to be looking for the exit fell asleep. I stopped at a gas station and the person inside says, ‘You can’t miss it. It’s the next exit.’ We missed it and kept going west. We never showed for the game. Not the way you want to start your coaching career.”

With many of Flaherty’s players traveling a long distance to attend Mount Carmel, he understands why administrators play it safe.

“Most of the Catholic schools have kids from a lot of different places,” Flaherty said. “We have players from Indiana, Beverly and Naperville. It’s a long way for them to come in this type of weather.”

Crete-Monee’s Tom Cappel is in his 41st year coaching high school basketball. Like Flaherty, Cappel couldn’t recall a similar stretch of cancellations because of sub-zero weather.

“No, I don’t have anything in mind like this at all,” he said. “We’ve had snow days where we missed school but had games or practices later that day because they were able to clear the snow. But nothing like the cold we’re having now.”

Cappel, who spent the majority of his career at Hillcrest, recalled a time when he had to lend a hand — literally — to a bus driver during a snowy trip to Joliet West.

“It was really bad outside,” Cappel said. “The linkage from the floor to the gas pedal had broke. I had to hold the linkage to the pedal down with my hand while the driver was driving so the bus could move. There’s no way I could do that now. It was tough. I probably shouldn’t have done that — we (Hillcrest) ended up losing the game.”

Crete-Monee was scheduled to play Lemont on Tuesday. Well, make that rescheduled to play Lemont. The game was a make-up from Jan. 7 when extreme cold forced postponement. Now it has to be scheduled a third time.

“We haven’t been in a gym since Friday and won’t be in one until Wednesday,” Cappel said. “But I’d imagine it’s the same for everyone. We’ll adapt.”

Ken Styler spent 21 years as coach at Marist and the past 14 years at Richards, including 12 as athletic director. Rescheduling games is a common occurrence in the spring — April showers are no friend to baseball and softball games — but the experience this season is something else.

“This is very uncommon,” Styler said. “Fortunately, it hasn’t been too much of a scheduling nightmare for us. We’ve had light schedules on the days school has been canceled. Once the coaches agree on a date, you call the bus company and adjust the schedule. It generally is pretty smooth.”

Like a sheet of ice.

“It’s brutal out there,” Styler said. “It’s something I don’t remember experiencing as a coach or athletic director. Ever.”



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