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Men’s College Basketball: Antonio Levy’s return a big boost for South Suburban

South Suburban's Antonio Levy (with ball). | Jim Karczewski/For Sun-Times Media

South Suburban's Antonio Levy (with ball). | Jim Karczewski/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 15, 2014 6:26AM



The hip pointer that slowed South Suburban’s Antonio Levy late in the regular season seems like a distant memory.

After scoring 26 points in the regular-season finale against Midwest Prep Elite Academy, Levy (Thornton) had 20 points in each of the Bulldogs’ wins in the NJCAA Division II Region IV-B quarterfinals and semifinals, then exploded for 35 in the 93-75 championship game win over Triton.

Levy buried six three-pointers in the title game.

“We came out and had good focus,” he said. “We all really wanted to win and we came out hard. I just got into a little bit of a zone.”

Levy was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

“It feels good,” he said. “It’s a great honor, but most important is we got the win.”

The victory assured the Bulldogs (28-5) their third straight appearance in the 16-team NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Danville.

South Suburban, which finished third in 2012 and sixth last year, is seeded fourth in the tournament and will meet unseeded Fort Scott (Kan.), which is 14-16, in the first round at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

“We’re really blessed to get to go back,” Levy said. “We’re not finished yet, though. We still have to win four more games to get what we want.”

Payback

In the 2011 Region IV tournament, South Suburban lost to Triton. Giovantae Hazelett was on that Bulldogs team before taking a couple of years off from school and returning to the South Suburban squad this year.

After the win over Triton, the Bulldogs surrounded Hazelett, chanting his name.

“We really wanted to win this for him,” South Suburban coach John Pigatti said. “We kept talking about it and really focused on that.”

Second-round showdown

No. 7 seed St. Xavier will take on No. 10 seed Midland (Neb.) in the second round of the 32-team NAIA Division II National Tournament at 8:30 a.m. Friday in Point Lookout, Mo.

The Cougars (30-4) are trying to advance beyond where their season ended last season with a second-round loss.

“(Midland) has good balance,” St. Xavier coach Tom O’Malley said. “They have a strong inside game and a really good outside shooter. We’re hoping to create mismatches against their man-to-man defense.”

Bubble bursts for Lewis

After falling to eventual champion Southern Indiana in the Great Lakes Valley Conference quarterfinals, Lewis had to sweat out the selections for the NCAA Division II National Tournament.

In the end, the Flyers found themselves on the wrong side of the bubble as they were not one of the eight teams from the Midwest Region chosen for the 64-team event.

Lewis was eighth in the Midwest rankings entering the postseason, but was passed by Bellarmine (Ky.), which advanced to the GLVC championship.

Karp an NAIA All-Star

St. Xavier guard Brad Karp was one of just 10 players nationwide selected to represent the NAIA on the 2014 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball All-Star team. The 10 NAIA players will take on the Division I All-Stars at the NABC-NAIA Men’s Basketball All-Star Game on March 22 in Kansas City, Mo., in conjunction with the 77th NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship.

Karp is averaging 25.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 steals a game for the Cougars.

Contributing: Dennis Nelson



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