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Serena Runs Past Somonauk to Win Third Straight LTC Tournament Title

Indian Creek wins third place on last second shot

Paw Paw, Indian Creek, and H-BR Score First Round Wins

 

Paw Paw 40, LaMoille 33

By Bill Lidinsky - Ottawa Times

 

In the opening game of the Little Ten Conference Tournament at Somonauk High School on Monday night, No. 8 seed Paw Paw used a furious rally against No. 9 seeded LaMoille to overcome a 10-point fourth quarter deficit and prevail 40-33.

 

The Bulldogs trailed 27-17 with 7:30 left in the game before they exploded to score the next 23 of 29 points behind some stifling full-court pressure on the Lions.

 

Paw Paw senior Brad Iversen spurred the Bulldogs' huge uprising with nine points during the final eight minutes of play.

 

"LaMoille came out with a lot of confidence and pretty much took it to us for the first three quarters," said Paw Paw coach Blake Strong. "I wish I would have went to the full court press earlier based on the results we had in the final period. But I was glad that our kids finally woke up down the stretch. They did a great job with such a big rally and I'm proud of them."

 

Paw Paw (7-11) was led in scoring by Paul Prawdzik with 15 points, while Iversen tallied 12 for the Bulldogs.

 

LaMoille (3-12) was paced by senior Mackenzie Kruse who also netted 12 points.

 

LAMOILLE (33) -- Fghs 1 2-2 4, Callison 3 0-0 8, Clinton 0 0-0 0, Teija 0 0-0 0, Monroe 1 4-7 6, Kruse 5 24- 12, Suplee 1 0-0 3, Frantzen 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 8-13 33.

PAW PAW (40) -- Marks 1 0-0 3 , Wiley 0 0-0 0, Prawdzik 4 6-6 15, Iversen 4 4-8 12, Simpson 2 0-0 4, Braddy 0 0-0 0, Moraan 1 2-2 4, Dodaro 1 0-0 2. Totals 13 12-16 40.

 

LaMoille (3-12)     7   11  7    8  -- 33

Paw Paw (7-10)  10   5    2   23 -- 40

3-point goals -- LaMoille 3 (Callison 2, Suplee); Paw Paw 2 (Marks, Prawdzik). Total fouls (fouled out) -- LaMoille 12 (Fghs); Paw Paw 14 (Dodaro).

 

Indian Creek 76, Newark 66

 

The third time was the charm for the fifth-seeded Indian Creek basketball team against No. 4 seed Newark during the second game of Monday night's opening action at the LTC Tournament in Somonauk.

After two losses earlier in the year to the Norsemen, the Timberwolves led from wire to wire this time and captured their third meeting with a convincing 76-66 victory.

 

"Newark had our number the first two times we played them this year," said Indian Creek coach Joe Piekarz. "We knew we could play with them despite the two earlier losses. We had a really good game and we were able to keep the lead from start to finish."

 

The Timberwolves led 36-24 at halftime and then again 57-47 going into the final eight minutes before the Norsemen rallied to close to within five at 71-66 with 35 seconds left.

 

"We had some possessions near the end, but took some wrong shots," said Newark coach Rick Tollefson. "We had a chance, but couldn't put it in the hole when we needed to, and I feel the officiating didn't give us any breaks down the stretch."

 

Newark senior Mitch Dunlap led all scorers with 29 points, including 18 in the first half. Kurt Anderson also tallied in double for the Norsemen with 11.

 

Jeremiah Barrett led the Timberwolves with 21 points, while Jacob Swanson, Will Poterek and Logan Sellers tallied 19, 17, and 12 points respectively as Indian Creek moves on to the LTC Tournament semifinals on Thursday night at 6 p.m. It'll face the winner of Tuesday night's game at Somonauk between top-seeded Serena and eighth-seeded Paw Paw.

 

Newark will host six seed Leland-Earlville at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday evening on the consolation side of the LTC bracket.

 

INDIAN CREEK (76) -- A. Mitchell 1 3-6 5, Assell 0 0-0 0, Swanson 7 2-3 19, Makarrall 0 1-2 1, Barrett 9 2-2 21, Sellers 2 6-8 12, Mitchell 0 1-2 1, Poterek 7 3-6 17. Totals 27 18-29 76.

NEWARK (66) -- Johnson 1 1-2 3, McGrath 0 2-3 2, Dunlap 11 4-6 29, Tollefson 2 0-0 6, Slack 3 0-0 7, Anderson 4 2-3 11, Gentchev 3 1-3 8. Totals 24 10-17 66.

 

Indian Creek (7-13)   18   18   21  19 -- 76

Newark (10-10)           9   15   23   19 -- 66

3-point goals -- IC 4 (Swanson 3, Barrett); Newark 8 (Dunlap 3, Tollefson 2, Slack, Anderson, Gentchev). Total fouls (none fouled out) -- IC 17, Newark 17.

 

Hinckley-Big Rock 60, Hiawatha 48

By DeKalb Daily Chronicle Staff

 

The Hinckley-Big Rock boys basketball team trailed Hiawatha by seven points at halftime on Tuesday, but attacked the basket and picked up the defensive intensity in the second half to knock off the Hawks 60-48 in the Little Ten Conference tournament.

 

Tyler Nauman scored 26 points and Joe Jenness had 12 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Royals (14-7).

 

In the first half, Hiawatha's Brad Hintzsche blocked three shots and the Royals shied away from the lane. But on the first two possessions of the second half, Ryan Salazar attacked the basket and his teammates followed suit, allowing the Royals to advance.

 

“At that point we got it in our heads that we could go inside and score instead of staying on the perimeter,” H-BR coach Bill Sambrookes said. “The defensive intensity picked up in the second half. We put pressure on them and got some deflections and steals and started playing like we are capable.”

 

Serena 71, Paw Paw 54

By Brian Hoxsey - Ottawa Times

 

Over the 88 years of the Little Ten Conference Boys Basketball Tournament there have been many upsets and probably twice as many near-misses.

The top-seeded Serena Huskers avoided a close call after leading by just a single point at halftime. They pushed the tempo of the game to their liking early and often in the second half to advance with a 71-54 win, thus erasing No. 8 seeded Paw Paw's thoughts of knocking off the two-time defending champ in Tuesday's night first game at Somonauk High School.

 

With the triumph, Serena (13-7) will battle Indian Creek (7-13) on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the first of two semifinals in a match up of last year's finalists.

 

"We missed some shots early that we would have liked to hit, but we had them for 12-of-18 in the first half, (in the second quarter) they didn't miss a shot," said Huskers coach Randy Goodbred. "Some of that was due to us (defensively) and some of it was (Paw Paw) was just making shots. They knew they weren't playing well, but they have to fight through it and I thought they did."

 

The Huskers held a slim 13-11 lead after the opening quarter as seniors Cooper Westvig and Josh Kueteman combined for 11 points. The Bulldogs started the second frame by getting a nifty drive from Chris Simpson and a rainbow trey from Paul Prawdzik to give Paw Paw a 16-13 lead and prompt a timeout from Goodbred.

 

Serena scored eight points over the next minute as Kueteman, Zach Terry and freshman Brady Johnson all picked up steals and turned them into lay-ups to make it 21-16 Huskers. The Bulldogs, who nailed all eight shot attempts from the floor in the second period and 51 percent for the game, would regain the lead after a Prawdzik putback at 27-26 and led 31-28 after senior Brad Iversen buried a 16-footer with 1:07 on the first half clock. Kueteman scored two of his 12 first half points on a drive and John Whalen netted a hoop in the closing seconds as the Huskers grabbed back a 32-31 halftime lead.

 

"We just gutted it out," Goodbred said. "We made a few adjustments and we knew we might have to do it. (Prawdzik) shot the ball really well and carried them in the first half as well as the Marks boy shot the ball well in the second. We made some steals and then finished. We weren't attacking (Paw Paw's zone), we weren't skipping the ball, and we were holding it a lot. We are not a good enough team not to penetrate with the ball, we've seen zones, but some nights you're good at them and tonight the first half we weren't in the second half I thought we took it right at them like we were capable of."

 

The Huskers opened the second half with a little more fire as they went on a 10-2 spurt with Kueteman connecting on back-to-back jumpers. Bulldog senior Cody Marks swished one of his four threes in the game with just under the five-minute mark to end the run with Serena holding a six-point (42-36) lead.

 

A minute later Johnson scored off one of Terry's game-high six assists, then he stroked a trifecta from the top of the key. Terry's lay-up off a nice dish from Kueteman closed out the third quarter with Serena holding a 51-38 advantage.

 

Serena, who hit on 54 percent of its shots in the contest, put the game away early in the fourth frame with a 12-2 run against the tiring Bulldogs, who only dressed seven players.

 

Kueteman led a balanced Husker attack with 18 points. Westvig added 17 points, four rebounds and four assists and Johnson had 13 points, while Terry scored 11 points and six helpers. The Bulldogs (7-11) were led by two-time all-LTC senior guard Prawdzik, who tallied 18 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, while Marks chipped in with 14 markers.

 

"Josh Kueteman was big; he just took the ball to the hole all night long and was hitting some nice pull up jumpers," Goodbred said.

 

PAW PAW (54) -- Prawdzik 8-15 0-1 18, Iversen 3-6 1-1 7, Marks 4-11 2-2 14, Wiley 1-2 2-2 5, Dodaro 1-2 0-0 2, Morgan 1-1 0-0 2, Simpson 2-2 2-3 6. Totals 20-39 7-9 54.

SERENA (71) -- Westvig 5-15 6-8 17, Terry 5-6 1-2 11, Jam. DeBolt 2-5 2-4 6, Johnson 6-9 0-0 13, Kueteman 8-12 2-2 18, Whalen 1-3 2-2 4, Foreman 0-0 0-0 0, Jak. DeBolt 1-2 0-0 2, Morahn 0-0 0-0 0, Strukel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-52 13-18 71.

 

Paw Paw (8-14)   11   20   7    16 -- 54

Serena (13-7)      13   19   19   20 -- 71

3-point baskets -- Paw Paw 7-14 (Prawdzik 2-3, Marks 4-10, Wiley 1-1); Serena 2-6 (Westvig 1-4, Johnson 1-1, Whalen 0-1). Rebounds -- Paw Paw 21 (Prawdzik 9); Serena 24 (Jam. DeBolt 8). Turnovers -- Paw Paw 23, Serena 13. Total fouls (none fouled out) - Paw Paw 16, Serena 15.

 

Somonauk 46, Leland-Earlville 38

By Bill Lidinsky - Ottawa Times

 

Since the Plano Christmas Basketball Classic, the Somonauk High School varsity boys hoop squad has been on a major role.

 

After a three-point loss on Dec. 30 at Plano to fellow Little Ten Conference opponent Hinckley-Big Rock, the Bobcats have been almost invincible. They turned a 4-7 record into a 13-7 mark with nine straight victories.

 

During this impressive march, Somonauk has seen an average margin of victory of almost 19 points. But win No. 10 wouldn't come as easily as the previous nine on Monday night.

 

In the matinee game of the opening round at the 87th annual Little Ten Conference Tournament, the host and No. 3-seeded Bobcats had their hands full with the sixth-seeded Leland-Earlville Panthers. Despite leading start to finish, Somonauk had to fight for every point before finally prevailing 46-38 for its 10th straight triumph.

 

"We played the game at their pace. Walking the ball down the floor is more suited to Leland-Earlville's liking," said Somonauk coach Ron Hunt. "I thought in the first half we missed a lot of shots which enabled them to stick with us. We had a lot of breakdowns which we haven't seen since we lost at Christmas. But I give them a lot of credit because they played us very tough."

 

Somonauk led 11-6 after one quarter and then 20-17 at the half. But the Panthers tightened the gap to 32-30 after three periods before the Bobcats capitalized on some hot shooting during the final eight minutes.

 

Somonauk hit three straight 3-point field goals to open a 41-34 advantage with 2:45 to play in the game. Leland-Earlville stormed back to within three at 41-38 with just under two minutes to go.

 

But Bobcat junior Scott Powers notched his eighth point of the period at 1:25 to put Somonauk up by five and the game was sealed from there as the Bobcats went on to victory.

 

"The guys normally look for me in the fourth quarter and what I like to do is take over for them," Powers said. "My threes weren't hitting early, but I was able to knock a couple down in the final period to help get us a victory."

 

Powers led all scorers with 19 points, while junior Josh Rivera netted 10 for Somonauk.

 

Senior Chris Bickel paced Leland-Earlville with 13 points, while junior Matt Tucker added 10. Senior star Jared Sawyer was held to only six points for the Panthers. Sawyer has been averaging over 20 points a game so far in 2006-07 for Leland-Earlville.

 

"We played Somonauk as well as we could play them. They kept Sawyer under wraps defensively and a few of our other kids stepped up offensively to keep us in the game," said Leland-Earlville coach Jerry Pohl. "I think our guys accepted the challenge of this game pretty well. But Powers really proved to be the difference in the final period making some big shots down the stretch."

 

With the win, Somonauk (14-7) moves on to the LTC tournament semifinals to face the winner of Tuesday's quarterfinal match between second seed H-BR and seventh-seeded Kirkland Hiawatha. Leland-Earlville will travel to Newark on Thursday to do battle with the Norsemen on the consolation side of the bracket.

 

If Hinckley is victorious on Tuesday, the Bobcats will be looking to avenge the earlier loss to the Royals back in December at Plano. Since then, it's been nothing but wins for Somonauk. Will they be able to keep the winning streak alive and advance to the LTC tourney title game?

 

"In December when we lost to Hinckley we were with them throughout the game," Powers said. "If we play them again, hopefully we'll be able to do a better job against their press. I think we're confident in the fact that this tournament is on our home floor and we won't be denied this time around no matter who we play."

 

LELAND-EARLVILLE (38) -- Shumway 1 0-2 2, Johnson 2 1-1 5, Gast 0 2-2 2, Tucker 4 0-0 10, Sawyer 2 2-4 6, Bickel 6 1-1 13, Frieders 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 6-10 38.

SOMONAUK (46) -- Smith 1 0-0 2, Adrian 0 1-2 1, Rivera 3 2-2 10, Giesholt 1 1-2 4, Weismiller 1 3-4 5, Powers 8 0-1 19, Josefchuk 0 0-0 0, Bunkofske 1 0-0 3, Houghtaylen 0 0-1 0, Hash 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 7-12 46.

 

Leland-Earlville (8-8)    6   11   13   8 -- 38

Somonauk (14-7)         11   9    12  14 -- 46

3-point goals -- L-E 2 (Tucker 2); Somonauk 7 (Powers 3, Rivera 2, Giesholt). Total fouls (fouled out) -- L-E 15 (Shumway); Somonauk 15.

 

 

SEMIFINALS

 

Huskers, Bobcats Advance to Championship Clash

 

Somonauk 59, Hinckley-Big Rock 54

By Bill Lidinsky - Ottawa Times

 

For the Somonauk High School boys basketball team, the semifinal match up in the Little Ten Conference Tournament with Hinckley-Big Rock started off like a nightmare.

 

Slowly but surely, however, the Bobcats' bad dream turned into euphoria as they erased a 21-point, second-quarter deficit to post a 59-54 victory over the Royals and move into the LTC championship game tonight against No. 1 seed Serena. The victory marked Somonauk's 11th straight win to move them to an overall record of 15-7.

 

"It's really nice to have 11 straight wins, especially coming back the way we did in such a big game," said Somonauk senior post man Bob Adrian. "I don't remember having 11 wins total in my basketball career, so to get this after being down early so badly, is a great thing."

 

Adrian's modesty aside, the Bobcats gave the home crowd a rally for the ages in terms of games played throughout the years in the Little Ten tournament.

 

The second-seeded Royals started off on fire, jumping off to an 11-0 lead behind seven points by freshman Brian Michaels. Hinckley-Big Rock extended its advantage to 25-8 after one quarter of play, as senior guard Tyler Nauman hit two three-pointers during the final minute of play in the period to give the Royals a huge early edge.

 

"We had a hard time moving the ball up the court against their press, which forced a lot of early turnovers," said Somonauk coach Ron Hunt. "It continued that way into the second quarter before we finally woke up."

 

Trailing 30-9 with six minutes to play in the half, the Bobcats started their slow but methodical surge toward what would end u p being an almost unprecedented rally in LTC Tournament history.

 

 

Somonauk's inside game started to kick in, and the Bobcats outscored the Royals 18-8 down the stretch in the second period to pull within 11 at the half, 38-27.

 

"We knew at halftime that we still had a lot of game to be played," Hunt said. "The guys were very supportive of one another and we believed we had already bridged a big gap getting back to where we were at the intermission."

 

One of the keys defensively for Somonauk in the second half was to try and eliminate the scoring threat of H-BR senior Nauman, who tallied 17 points during the first 16 minutes of play. The Bobcats ended up accomplishing this task and them some.

 

The Somonauk defense locked down on Nauman in the second half, allowing him zero points, while the SHS offense outscored H-BR 15-6 in the third quarter to pull within two at 44-42.

 

"Going into the fourth we knew we were right there and all we had to do was keep the defensive pressure on them in order to get a win," Adrian said.

 

Hinckley held the lead at 50-46 with 5:45 to go before Somonauk took over down the stretch.

 

The Bobcats gained their first lead of the contest at 51-50 less than a minute later. With 5520seconds left in the game Somonauk went up 56-52 on junior Josh Rivera's triple from the deep baseline corner and the unbelievable rally odyssey would be complete.

 

"The corner shot has been a hot spot for me all season long," Rivera said. "Once I hit it, we seemed to know we were going to win the game. From there we took over and my teammates did the rest."

 

In one of the most unbelievable comebacks in LTC Tournament history, the third seed Bobcats upended their second-seeded foes from Hinckley.

 

Michaels and Nauman led all scorers with 18 and 17 points, respectively. But it was the Somonauk play on defense -- especially in the second half, limiting Nauman to zero points -- which gave the Bobcats the boost toward the win.

 

"They played excellent defense in the second half," said Hinckley Big-Rock head coach Bill Sambrookes. "It was nothing less than great man-to-man defense. We just didn't execute and we didn't take care of the ball after having such a big lead. They dominated us on the boards. If you add everything up, that's why we lost such a big lead and ended up losing."

 

Overall, Somonauk out rebounded H-BR 37-16 in the contest.

 

Scott Powers led the Bobcats in scoring with 16 points, while Adrian added 13. Steve Weismiller notched 10 tallies and seven boards, while Rivera netted eight.

 

SOMONAUK (59) -- Smith 3 0-0 6, Adrian 5 3-5 13, Rivera 3 0-0 8, Geisholt 0 0-0 0, Weismiller 4 2-3 10, Powers 6 4-5 16, Christopher 0 0-0 0, Morsch 0 0-0 0, Josephchuck 0 0-0 0, Bunkofske 1 0-0 2, Houghtaylen 2 0-0 4. Totals 24 9-13 59.

HINCKLEY-BIG ROCK (54) -- Michaels 7 2-2 18, Beisel 0 0-0 0, Salazar 2 2-2 7, Tokars 3 2-4 8, Galvan 0 0-0 0, White 0 0-0 0, Jenness 1 0-0 2, Nauman 4 6-7 17, Koehler 0 0-0 0, Sutherland 0 2-2 2. Totals 17 14-17 54.

 

Somonauk                  8    19    15    17 -- 59

Hinckley-Big Rock    25    13     6    10 -- 54

3-point goals -- Somonauk 2 (Rivera 2), HBR 6 (Nauman 3, Michaels 2, Salazar). Total fouls (none fouled out) -- Somonauk 13 (none fouled out), HBR 14 (none fouled out).

 

Serena 77, Indian Creek 70

 

It's a very rare occurrence when a high school basketball team has five players score in double figures in any one game.

 

The Serena Huskers made this rarity a reality Thursday night during their semifinal match up versus fifth seed Indian Creek at the Little Ten Conference Tournament in Somonauk.

 

All five of the Serena starters posted double-digit tallies as the Huskers posted their highest point total of the season in a 77-70 victory over the Timberwolves.

 

Senior Zack Terry led the way for Serena with 21 points, including nine in the first quarter as the Huskers withstood an early barrage of Indian Creek shots to move on to their third straight LTC tournament title game. Serena now will play Somonauk tonight in the championship game, hoping to capture a third consecutive tourney crown.

 

"Zack just played a tremendous game. I don't know what else to say. I'm very lucky to have him on my team," said Serena coach Randy Goodbred. "Yeah he had 21 points, but he literally willed this team to win the game with his all- around great play. He set the table for our performance, and all our starters stepped up with him as well."

 

Indian Creek came out on fire in the first quarter and took an early 21-19 advantage after one period of play. The Timberwolves capitalized on pinpoint shooting by Jeremiah Barrett and Jacob Swanson, who each netted eight points in the opening stanza to give Indian Creek an advantage.

 

"We just shot very well to open the game and I thought when we had a good look at the basket we took advantage of it," said Indian Creek coach Joe Piekarz. "We had a lot of confidence early on and when we had the opportunity to score we did a good job converting."

 

But the Huskers outscored the Timberwolves 19-13 in the second quarter to grab a 35-34 advantage going into the locker room at the half. Terry led the way for Serena with 11 first-half points.

 

"I just kept getting open early on and I tried to take it to the hole every time I got it," Terry said. "They had a match-up problem against me and I just tried to keep taking it to them."

 

Serena then pushed the lead to 61-52 after three quarters of play. Once again, Terry was the catalyst with some great defensive efforts as the Huskers were poised for the kill.

 

Serena extended its lead to 70-57 with four minutes to play and then hung on down the stretch to win by seven.

 

In addition to Terry's fine scoring output, the rest of the Huskers' starting five delivered in fine fashion to move Serena on to their third straight LTC tourney championship game.

 

Cooper Westvig was next in line with 18 points, while Josh Kueteman added 14. James DeBolt and Brady Johnson kicked in with 10 apiece as the Husker starters accounted for 73 of the 77 points Serena put through the hoop. Not too shabby for a starting five in a big game.

 

"Tonight's scoring output was the biggest point total we've scored all year," Goodbred said. "To have all the starters contribute the way they did was more than I could've asked for especially because Indian Creek never let up on us."

 

Barrett led all scorers on the night with 23 points for the Timberwolves.

 

With the win Serena (14-7) moves into today's title game against Somonauk at 7:30 p.m., while Indian Creek (7-14) will battle Hinckley-Big Rock for third place at 6 p.m.

 

"It was just one of those games as who would outscore who. We were lucky enough to be on top," Goodbred said.

 

"Obviously we have the bulls-eye on our back as the No. 1 seed and having won the tournament the last two years. We'll see if we're good enough to win it a third straight year. We know it won't be easy."

 

SERENA (77) -- Terry 7 7-12 21, Morahan 0 0-0 0, Whalen 0 2-4 2, Kuetman 4 6-7 14, Jake DeBolt 0 0-0 0, Foreman 0 2-4 2, Westvig 6 5-7 18, Johnson 3 2-2 10, Strukel 0 0-0 0, James DeBolt 4 2-4 10. Totals 24 26-40 77.

INDIAN CREEK (70) -- Mitchell 1 0-0 2, Yaggie 1 0-0 2, Assell 0 0-0 0, Swanson 6 0-0 16, Malcolm 0 0-0 0, MaKarrall 1 0-1 2, Barrett 11 1-4 23, Sellers 7 0-0 15, Mitchell 2 0-0 6, Poterek 2 0-0 4. Totals 31 1-5 70.

 

Serena (14-7)   19   19   23   16 -- 77

Indian Creek     21   13   18   18 -- 70

3-point goals -- Serena 3 (Johnson 2, Westvig), Indian Creek 7 (Swanson 4, Mitchell 2, Sellers). Total fouls (fouled out) -- Serena 16 (Johnson, DeBolt), Indian Creek 24 (Swanson).  

 

Third Place Game

 

Indian Creek 59, Hinckley-Big Rock 57

 

Indian Creek's Jeremiah Barrett scored on a drive at the buzzer to give the fifth-seeded Timberwolves a 59-57 upset of No. 2 Hinckley-Big Rock in the third place contest.

 

Barrett collected a team-high 20 points for the T-Wolves, while Will Poterek added 10. The Royals were led by senior Tyler Nauman who scored a game-high 21. Junior Tim Tokars chipped in with 14.

 

Championship Game

 

Serena 73, Somonauk 58

By Brian Hoxsey - Ottawa Times

 

The chants of the boisterous Serena student section -- some with purple and gold painted faces, others wearing outdated Husker uniforms and one fan with a huge corncob hat -- told the whole story.

 

"Three-peat, Three-peat, Three-peat."

 

The top-seeded Huskers captured their third consecutive Little Ten Conference Tournament title Friday night with an impressive 73-58 victory over Somonauk the No. 3 seed on the Bobcats' home floor.

 

The last time Serena was able to lift the golden basketball in more than two straight seasons was when it triumphed four straight years, from 1963 to 1966. The Huskers also moved past Waterman and Newark (15 each) for most LTC tournament titles all-time with 16; they joined the conference in 1939.

 

"They wanted it and we knew it wouldn't be easy to get three in a row," said Huskers coach Randy Goodbred. "This will be something they can be proud of, it will go down in history; now you will always see a little section (in the program) with Serena back-to-back-to-back (past champions) so that is something nice. You have to play three solid games to win this tournament. I don't know if they were all solid start to finish, but all three were solid at the end and that what it takes to win the tournament and that's what we did."

 

Serena started quickly, leading 14-7 at the halfway mark of the first quarter after Cooper Westvig scored on a nice baseline drive. Following a pair of free throws by Bobcat Josh Rivera (11 points), Westvig sandwiched a pair of nice hoops around two free throws from Josh Kueteman, who had 12 first-half points to extend the lead to 20-9. Somonauk's Chris Giesholt ended the period with his only bucket of the contest on a pretty drive to cut the disadvantage to nine.

 

The Huskers exploded on a 15-5 run to start the second frame, with Zach Terry spearheading the scoring attack. James DeBolt scored off a highlight reel pass from Westvig at the 1:39 mark of the first half to give Huskers a 40-24 lead. Bob Adrian (11 points) sank a basket at the halftime horn for Somonauk, but the margin was still 12 (42-30).

 

"You know if you play that game long enough it's going to catch up to you," said Bobcat coach Ron Hunt on the fact his team trailed early for the second straight night. "(Serena) took care of the ball, played very physical and did it without fouling some how. They're very experienced, they been here before and they are a good team. They knew how to handle when we'd come back at them."

 

The champions again opened the second half on a surge, this time an 11-3 run. Westvig scored off a Terry helper and the lead was 20 at 53-33 with 5:10 on the clock. Bobcat Matt Houghtaylen scored at the third-quarter buzzer, but the runners-up still trailed 56-37.

 

The Serena lead grew to as much as 23 on two occasions in the final eight minutes as the Huskers spread the floor and were content to run clock or go the foul line, where they were 26-of-34 for the game.

 

"We just have to realize that here's one game, it was an important game to us, one that we wanted to win of course, but that game's gone," Hunt said. "The kids played hard, but we didn't take care of the basketball like we should have, and defensively we didn't do a good job, either."

 

Seniors led Serena as Kueteman finished an all-around solid tournament for the Huskers by scoring a game-high 22 points. DeBolt added 18 points, Westvig 14 and Terry 11. DeBolt and Westvig shared game-high honors in rebounds with eight each.

 

"It was a total tournament for him, he played just wonderfully," said Goodbred of Kueteman. "He just stepped up his game; he hit big shot after big shot for us. Cooper ran the floor, Zach played his normal tough defense on Powers (11 points) and he had to work for all of them. James DeBolt knew he didn't play as well last night and he stepped up his game big-time. I thought over all we took care of the ball, when they made a run we always answered them. I can't be any happier for those seniors; those four stepped up and did what they were supposed to do."

 

SOMONAUK (58) -- Powers 4-8 1-1 11, Rivera 3-8 2-3 8, Giesholt 1-5 0-0 2, Hash 0-0 1-2 1, Smith 3-3 0-0 6, Adrian 5-6 1-1 11, Houghtaylen 2-2 2-3 6, Weismiller 1-1 0-0 2, Josefchuk 1-2 0-0 2, Bunkofske 3-10 2-2 9. Totals 23-45 9-12 58.

SERENA (73) -- Westvig 6-10 2-3 14, Terry 4-9 3-6 11, Kueteman 6-9 10-12 22, Johnson 2-6 1-2 6, Jam. DeBolt 5-7 8-9 18, Whalen 0-3 2-2 2, Foreman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-44 26-34 73.

 

Somonauk (15-8)   11   19   7   21 -- 58

Serena (15-7)         20   22 14   17 -- 73

3-point goals -- Somonauk 3-12 (Powers 2-2, Rivera 0-2, Giesholt 0-1, Bunkofske 1-7); Serena 1-3 (Westvig 0-1, Johnson 1-1, Whalen 0-1).  Rebounds -- Somonauk 15 (Powers 3, Bunkofske 3); Serena 29 Westvig 8, Jam. DeBolt 8). Turnovers -- Somonauk 19, Serena 16. Total fouls (fouled out) -- Somonauk 26 (Powers); Serena 14 (none).

serenavsomobballltcchamp2007.jpg
Husker freshman Brady Johnson (32) shoots in title game

 
2006-07 Little Ten Conference
 Final Standings
 
                           W   L
Hinckley-Big Rock          8   0
Serena                     7   1
Indian Creek               5   3
Somonauk                   5   3
Newark                     5   3
Leland-Earlville           3   5
Paw Paw                    1   7
Kirkland-Hiawatha          1   7
LaMoille                   1   7
2007 All-Little Ten Team
 
Tyler Nauman, Hinckley-Big Rock (18.0 points per game, 3 steals per game and 3 assists per game.  Two-time unanimous all-conference pick)
 
Cooper Westvig, Serena (17.0 ppg, 5 apg and 3 spg.  Two-time unanimous all-conference pick, also named to Plano Christmas Classic All-Tournament team.)
 
James DeBolt, Serena (14 ppg and 9 rebounds per game.  Unanimous selection, led Huskers in rebounding and was second in scoring)
 
Zach Terry, Serena (10 ppg, 7 rpg and 3 spg.  Was the Huskers top defender)
 
Jake Swanson, Indian Creek (Junior, 16 ppg, two-time All-LTC pick.  Is the all-time leading scorer in school history)
 
Will Poterek, Indian Creek (10 ppg and 9 rpg)
 
Scott Powers, Somonauk (Junior, 11 ppg, 5 rpg, 4 apg and 3 spg.  Two-time All-LTC pick, was Bobcats leading scorer.)
 
Mitch Dunlap, Newark (18 ppg and 9 rpg.  Two-time All-LTC pick and was selected to Plano Christmas Classic All-Tournament team)
 
Jared Sawyer, Leland-Earlville (17 ppg and 8 rpg.  His solid play gave a good start to a new co-op basketball program)
 
Paul Prawdzik, Paw Paw (18 ppg, 10 rpg, 5 apg and 5 spg.  Solid on defensive end as well.  Scored over 1,000 points in high school career and is a three-time All-LTC pick)