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Boys Basketball: Illiana Christian advances past winless Hawkins

Illiana Christian coach Tom Roozeboom wanted his team’s focus one place and one place only.

He wanted the Vikings focusing on their own bench, not looking down the sideline Monday night.

Playing in a Class 2A Carver Regional quarterfinal, Illiana tangled with a winless Hawkins squad that has just six players on its roster.

“We can’t take anyone for granted because we play up and down,” Roozeboom said. “You can’t look at their bench, see they’ve got six players and think, ‘We’ve got this.’ We finally decided to stop shooting threes and owned it in the paint.”

Shaking off an early scare, Illiana Christian lit things up for a 93-72 win. The Vikings will play Fenger at 7 p.m. Thursday in a semifinal.

Caleb Jonkman (23 points) and Brandon Galambos (19) led Illiana (16-10). Chad Ketelaar had 10 points off the bench.

In the early minutes of Monday’s game, it wasn’t the Vikings taking advantage of their size advantage or depth. It was Hawkins taking control early, going up 12-9 behind strong play from the freshman backcourt of Corey Buckner and Demetrius Kimble.

“It’s the playoffs, and everyone wants to get at it,” Jonkman said. “You’re 0-0 and starting new. Hawkins came out, hit some shots and moved the ball well. We finally woke up and played our game.”

It was just an early three-point deficit, but the Vikings had all the scare they needed.

Illiana scored seven unanswered points to close the first, going up 16-12. The Vikings continued the spurt into the second period with strong inside-out play. Galambos’ hard baseline drive and wing three-pointer highlighted the outburst, Jonkman punctuating the run with a nice spinning jumper on the baseline, then adding a free throw the next time down.

“Playing our game, we took things over,” Jonkman said. “We weren’t getting up the floor early, and they got some easy layups. We got some defensive stops that we knew we could, we got our own easy buckets.”

Hawkins (0-15) was led by Kimble (23 points), Jadon Simmons (17 points, 9 rebounds), Buckner (16 points) and Dajohn Anderson (10 points). The Trailblazers hit six first-half three-pointers and trailed 42-30 at halftime.



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