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Huskers Top Bobcats to Raise Golden Trophy

H-BR earns win in third place contest

Paw Paw, Newark, H-BR Advance On Opening Night

By FRED HOFFMAN, Ottawa Times


The eighth-seeded Paw Paw Bulldogs and the fourth-ranked Newark Norsemen each advanced in Little Ten Conference Tournament play with victories over, respectively, Earlville and LaMoille last night at Somonauk. The Bulldogs won their contest, 46-44, with a late charge in the fourth quarter, while Newark took control after the opening tip and never trailed in scoring a 63-40 decision.

In Monday's third game, No. 3 Hinckley-Big Rock shut down sixth-seed Indian Creek 45-32.


Paw Paw 46, Earlville 44


The Bulldogs and ninth-seeded Red Raiders battled through eight lead changes and three tie scores before Paw Paw was able to claim victory with a tremendous effort in the final minute of the game.


Paw Paw held a 39-38 advantage with 2:22 to play in the game, but Earlville scored the next six points, all on baskets by Mike Eaton with Packard Campbell assisting each time. Those points gave the Red Raiders (2-16) a 44-39 lead with 49 seconds on the clock, and it seemed Earlville might avenge a home-court loss from earlier in the month.


However ...


Paul Prawdzik drew a foul and made two free throws for the Bulldogs, then Chase Sellers banked home a 3-pointer with 16 seconds, tying the score at 44-44. Earlville turned the ball over on its ensuing possession and Prawdzik was fouled again with 7 1/2 seconds to go, and he made both foul shots to put the Bulldogs (4-16) up by two.


The Raiders were unable to get off a good shot as time expired, and Paw Paw earned a shot at top-rated Serena in the "Purple and Gold Bowl," tonight at 6:30.


"Yeah, we practice those (3-point bank shots) every day," quipped Paw Paw coach Galen Noard. "Seriously, if you saw our three-point percentage for the year, you'd wonder why we even try them anymore.


"We're not super-talented, but we play hard every game. Usually when we get down in the score, we act like, 'oh, here we go again,' but not tonight. I think that had something to do with playing Earlville, because that's a rival for us. We didn't want to lose, and we weren't going down without a fight."


In the first quarter, Paw Paw had a 10-7 lead with 1:21 to go in the period before Earlville's Mike Gast, Campbell and Austin Cartee combined for the final six points of the stanza, giving the Red Raiders a 13-10 lead.


Paw Paw scored the first four, and nine of the first 11 points in the second quarter and went on to hold a 22-19 edge at intermission.


The Bulldogs were still in front 28-24 with just over five minutes to go in the third quarter when Earlville went on another scoring spree, beginning with a 3-pointer by Gast. Earlville scored the final 10 points of the quarter, going up 34-28 on an Eaton hoop, assisted, of course, by Campbell.


The Raiders had a 36-30 bulge after two minutes of play in the final period, but Paw Paw put together its first significant run of the game as Sellers, Bittner, Prawdzik and Jared Nicholson each put points on the board to pull the Bulldogs to a 37-36 advantage. Each club added a pair of markers before Eaton's six straight and the final Paw Paw spurt.


"We lean on Prawdzik so much for a lot of things," said Noard. "He's our leading scorer, rebounder and assist-man, and he had a good game. Sellers was on the bench in the third quarter with foul trouble, but he still had a good night."


Prawdzik finished with team-highs in scoring with 22, rebounding with 12 and steals with four. Sellers wound up with 14 points and Bittner was the leader in assists with four.


For Earlville, Eaton was the leading scorer with 15 points to go with five steals before fouling out with seven seconds to play. Cartee hit for 11 points, with Campbell adding seven points with 12 rebounds and five assists.


"We had a game plan, but we just didn't close it out," said Earlville coach Jim Farrell. "They hit a wild shot that went in and turned the game around. Then we got a foul called on us in what was a 50-50 foul, and they made their free throws. If we make more of our free throws, it's a different game.


"We had four sophomores out there, and they played hard. Give Paw Paw credit, they came back and made the shot when they needed it. Whether it was ugly or not, they put it in. Then they got a loose ball and converted the free throws."


EARLVILLE (44) -- Gast 2 0-0 5, Cartee 4 2-2 11, Campbell 3 1-4 7, Cook 0 0-0 0, Eaton 7 1-3 15, Stockley 0 0-0 0, Lane 2 2-2 6. Totals 18 6-11 44.

PAW PAW (46) -- Prawdzik 7 8-9 22, A.Wolgast 2 0-0 5, M.Wolgast 0 0-0 0, Nicholson 2 0-1 4, Sellers 5 3-4 14, Bittner 0 1-2 1.


Earlville (2-16)      13    6    15    10 -- 44

Paw Paw (4-16)    10   12     6     18 -- 46

Three-point baskets -- Earlville 2 (Gast, Cartee); Paw Paw 2 (Sellers, A.Wolgast). Rebounds -- Earlville 27 (Campbell 12); Paw Paw 21 (Prawdzik 12). Assists -- Earlville 16 (Campbell 5); Paw Paw 8 (Bittner 4). Steals -- Earlville 12 (Eaton 5); Paw Paw 11 (Prawdzik 4). Turnovers -- Earlville 20; Paw Paw 19. Total fouls (fouled out) -- Earlville 17 (Eaton); Paw Paw 11. Free throw percentages -- Earlville 54.5; Paw Paw 75.0.


Newark 63, LaMoille 40


The nip-and-tuck action of the opening game stood in stark contrast to the beginning of the Norsemen-Lion tussle.


Newark (11-10), paced by Tim Gunier's 10 points, shot out to a 15-0 lead, and led 18-1 with just under three minutes to play in the first quarter. It looked as if LaMoille was going to be blown off the court in short order, yet five good minutes do not a game make.


The Lions (7-14) rallied with the next eight points, a run which began when Brad Cole put back a rebound, and ended when Cole made a steal and went to the hoop to make it 18-9. Greg Sperry hit the final basket of the period and Newark was up 20-9.


In the second quarter, LaMoille continued its comeback as Cole scored four points and Garrett Luck had two to pull the Lions to within striking range at 20-14, capping a binge in which LaMoille outscored the Norsemen 13-2 over parts of two periods.


Dane Sleezer got the Norsemen back in gear, scoring a field goal and converting a free throw into a three-point play. After Cole Faber connected for LaMoille, Newark tallied six times and closed out the half with a 33-18 lead.


"They were really ready to play," said Newark coach Dale Skelton. "They really wanted to get the tournament started. They wanted to play, and it didn't matter who they were playing tonight, they were coming focused and ready to play.


"(After the 18-1 start) I think when we made a few substitutions, our rhythm got messed up a little bit, but we got it back after a while. LaMoille is not that bad a team. They looked disorganized at times, but they have some nice players, so we didn't think we were going to run away and hide from them.


"They got it down to six, and they weren't going to go away, but I think our defense clamped down a little bit at that point and we were able to get some stops and a few buckets and then relax a little more."


Newark, having scored the last four points of the first half, continued its run by adding eight more consecutive points in the third quarter and following a hoop from Cole Faber, putting the next nine digits on the board.


All told, from the last minute of the second quarter to the 2:47 mark of the third frame, Newark dominated the scoring by a 21-2 mark. At the end of three periods, the Norsemen were ahead 54-25.


When Mitch Dulap snared a defensive rebound and went all the way to hit a deuce at his end of the floor in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, the running-clock rule took effect and the victor had been decided.


"We call this the Golden Globe Awards because the championship trophy is a big golden basketball," said Skelton. "We won it last year and our kids are determined. We don't know how far we're going to go, but we're going to give it our best shot to defend the championship we won last year. We have to take it one step at a time.


"We've worked on (rebounding) for two weeks, over and over and over. To be honest, we've run a lot of wind sprints in the last two weeks, working on locating and blocking out, getting position and those types of things. After a while, it sinks in. I was very proud of our defensive and offesive rebounding. I thought we had great position on the defensive end, and I think rebounding was the key."


Gunier finished with 16 points and seven rebounds, Sleezer collected 12 points and eight boards, Sperry had 11 points and three assists and Dunlap amassed 10 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and five steals.


Luck led LaMoille with 14 points and six rebounds, followed by Cole with 10 points. Jeremy Finley took team honors in assists and steals with five of each.


NEWARK (63) -- Sperry 4 1-2 11, Sleezer 5 1-1 12, Dunlap 4 2-3 10, Gunier 5 6-7 16, Andersen 3 0-0 7, Thanepohn 0 0-0 0, Monkemeyer 2 0-0 5, Buchanan 0 0-0 0, Gundino 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 10-13 63.

LA MOILLE (40) -- Finley 1 0-0 2, Wiesbrock 0 0-0 0, Luck 6 0-0 14, Cole 3 4-6 10, J.Faber 1 0-1 2, C.Faber 3 2-3 8, Clinton 0 0-0 0, Callison 2 0-0 4. Totals 16 6-10 40.


Newark (11-10)     20   13    21    9 -- 63

LaMoille (7-14)       9      9      7   15 -- 40

Three-point baskets) -- Newark 5 (Sperry 2, Sleezer, Andersen, Monkemeyer); LaMoille 2 (Luck 2). Rebounds (team leaders) -- Newark 34 (Dunlap 10); LaMoille 21 (Luck 6). Assists -- Newark 16 (Dunlap 3, Thanepohn 3, Sperry 3); LaMoille 9 (Finley 5). Steals -- Newark 11 (Dunlap 5); LaMoille 14 (Finely 5). Turnovers -- Newark 19; LaMoille 20. Total fouls (none fouled out) -- Newark 11; LaMoille 12. Free throw percentages -- Newark 76.9; LaMoille 60.0.



By Brian Hoxsey - Daily Chronicle


Hinckley Big Rock High School used a decisive rebound advantage on one end of the court and a trapping zone defense on the other. The combination of the two enabled the Royals (12-9 record) to slip by Indian Creek High School 45-32 on the first day of the 86th Annual Little Ten Conference Tournament.


H-BR, the tournament's No. 3 seed, broke a 4-4 tie midway through the first quarter on a Ryan Michael 16-foot jumper from the left wing. Jake Austin's trey and Matt Koehling's 10-footer in the final seconds of the period closed out a 7-0 run by the Royals.


Michael opened the second stanza with back-to-back baskets to extend H-BR's lead to double digits (15-4) before IC's Jacob Swanson netted his first hoop of the night to stop the bleeding. The Royals used a trapping zone defense and a coast-to-coast layup by Austin to push their lead to 23-10 at the intermission.


A see-saw battle through much of the third period still found the Royals leading by 10 with 2:55 left. Indian Creek (8-13) then mounted a mini comeback as Chris Tidwell buried a three-pointer from the top of the key at the 2:06 mark. The lead was cut down to five on Nathan Yaggie's driving layup 25 seconds later. The Royals kicked it up a notch as they closed out the frame on Eric Oros' 12-footer and a Justin Alfredson short range tally with a Timberwolve turnover sandwiched in between to lead 33-24 heading to the final quarter.


ICHS, the No. 6 seed, again cut the lead to five on Ben Kastler's runner in the lane to make it 37-32 H-BR with four minutes left. Alex Harper scored from 13 feet and Alfredson on a putback off one of H-BR's 15 offensive rebounds to increase the lead back to nine with less than two minutes to play.


The T-Wolves could not take advantage of the Royals 4-of-8 shooting from the stripe in the waning seconds to get any closer.


Royals head coach Bill Sambrookes - who picked up win number 50 as H-BR skipper - wasn't totally pleased with his teams' performance.


"We missed too many layups and free throws. I don't think we played with very good defensive intensity, but they took good care of the basketball. We went to our trapping zone and it seemed to give us a spark at the end of the first half and some of the second. If we didn't have that to fall back on, I'm not sure where we would have ended up"


Some of the same keys were also on the mind of IC coach Steve Joslyn.


"We had some point blank shots we just didn't make. The kids gave good effort. I thought we gave ourselves a chance tonight because we played better defense. We made some nice adjustments form the last time."


The Royals were led by senior Ryan Michael who scored 12 points and grabbed a game-high seven rebounds. Senior Ben Kastler paced the T-Wolves with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor.


Huskers, Bobcats advance to semis

By FRED HOFFMAN, Ottawa Times


 It's usually a safe bet that when the two highest-seeded teams meet the two lowest seeds, their first-round games will be lopsided affairs. However, that is not what happened in the quarterfinal round of the Little Ten Conference Tournament Tuesday at Somonauk.

Both No. 1 seeded Serena and No. 2 seeded Somonauk trailed in the fourth quarter but rallied to win, the Huskers over No. 8 seeded Paw Paw 52-40 and the Bobcats holding off 7th-ranked Leland 45-41.


Serena 52, Paw Paw 40


The final margin of 12 points was no indication of the competitive nature of this game, which boasted seven ties and five lead changes, two of the latter in the fourth quarter. A Dallas Kempiak putback at 6:40 of the final period started a 10-point run in a 17-6 period that put the Huskers (13-5) in control for good.


"I think we missed some shots and Paw Paw got their confidence then," said Serena coach Randy Goodbred. "I thought we started playing a little scared and we got out of rhythm. You've gotta credit Paw Paw. They handled our pressure -- and that's what we thrive on -- all night long. They outplayed us. We were fortunate to win the game."


The started seeds appropriate as Serena jumped out to a 15-4 lead on a bucket by Connor Finley, assisted by David Pinney, at the 1:42 mark. The Bulldogs' Josh Bittner and Paul Prawdzik both took rebounds coast-to-coast, pulling them within 15-14 and two Prawdzik free throws at 6:48 gave Paw Paw (4-17) its first lead. It led by two at the half.


Finley hit a three with :09 of the third quarter and Serena led 35-34 after 24 minutes. After a hoop by Shane Sellers early in the fourth quarter regained Paw Paw's lead, Serena took command.


Kempiak got the go-ahead rebound, a deuce and, after Finley scored on the break, hit again. Pinney hit two free throws to give Serena a 45-36 lead.


"I thought in the first half we were reaching and grabbing and poking and pulling, and Paw Paw came right us and we were fouling," Goodbred said. "I think they had 13 of their (27) points from the free throw line.


"The bottom line was that at the key moments, when we needed to hit a shot or cause a turnover, we did it. We know we have to play much better Thursday to even have a chance against Newark."


PAW PAW (40) - Prawdzik 3 7-9 13, Nicholson 6 4-4 16, A.Wolgast 1 0-1 2, M.Wolgast 0 0-0 0, Sellers 1 5-6 7, Bittner 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 16-20 40.

SERENA (52) - Finley 5 2-3 14, Westvig 1 3-4 5, Pinney 3 5-7 11, Kempiak 5 0-0 10, Mason 3 2-4 8, Naggs 1 0-0 2, Foreman 1 0-1 2, Chapman 0 0-0 0, Hunt 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 12-19 52.


Paw Paw (4-17)      10   17    7     6 - 40

Serena (13-5)         15   10   10  17 - 52

Three-point baskets - PP none, Serena 2 (Finley 2). Rebounds - PP 26 (Prawdzik 11), Serena 21 (Pinney 7). Assists - PP 4 (Nicholson 2), Serena 12 (Westvig 4). Steals - PP 6 (Bittner 3), Serena 11 (Finley 4). Turnovers - PP 22, Serera 12. Total fouls (fouled out) - PP 18 (Sellers, Nicholson), Serena 20 (Kempiak). Free throw percentages - PP 80.0, Serena 63.2.


Somonauk 45, Leland 41


This one was tight throughout with Somonauk hold a six-point lead on two occassions and Leland owning a six-point edge once.


Leland's six-point lead came with less than three minutes left in the third quarter, 31-25 on rebound baskets by Andrew Mashare and Tony Pollock . But Somonauk scored the final seven points on a Matt Hochstatter putback, Al Adrian's trey and Jason Bruggemann's lay-up to put the Bobcats in front 32-31 at the quarter.


At 5:56 of the fourth, Leland's Chris Bickel picked up his eighth assist of the night, feeding Mashare for the go-ahead bucket. But the Bobcats responded with a three-pointer from Adrian and a field goal by Brett Smith, giving Somonauk the 41-37 lead it never relinquished.


"They were a different team than we saw in November," said Somonauk coach Ron Hunt. "I think they played with a lot more confidence. Ball-penetration (by Bickel) is something we had to defend, and we had to keep him out of the lane for one thing, but we couldn't do that. Then he'd dish off to Mashare, and he was scoring.


"On offense, we didn't get many second chances when the ball wouldn't drop. ... We're a better team when we play with confidence and play loose and play the way we're supposed to."


And Leland coach Brock Harp knew his team had stepped up a notch, even if there were still a few little lapses.


"We had about four mental lapses and that cost us the game," said Harp. "Our kids came out and played almost the whole game and Jared Sawyer came off the bench, and that was it. They left it all on the floor. Somonauk was a little deeper, a little taller and bigger. We did good things tonight, but some times the ball just doesn't bounce your way."


LELAND (41) - Wintermote 1 0-0 3, Bickel 1 5-6 7, Pollock 2 0-0 4, Tucker 3 0-0 8, Mashare 8 3-4 19, Sawyer 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 8-10 41.

SOMONAUK (45) - Adrian 5 2-4 16, Hayes 1 2-3 4, Smith 2 2-2 6, Napolitano 4 0-1 8, Johnson 0 2-2 2, Bruggemann 1 1-2 3, Hochstatter 3 0-0 6, Heiden 0 0-0 0, Grenemeier 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 9-14 45.


Leland (2-17)              7   13    11    10 - 41

Somonauk (13-7)     13    6     13    13 - 45

Three-point baskets - Leland 3 (Tucker 2, Wintermote); Somonauk 4 (Adrian 4). Rebounds - Leland 28 (Bickel 8); Somonauk 27 (Smith 5, Adrian 5). Assists - Leland 12 (Bickel 8); Somonauk 13 (Smith 5). Steals - Leland 8 (Tucker 2, Bickel 2, Pollock 2); Somonauk 9 (Johnson 4, Smith 3). Turnovers - Leland 17; Somonauk 11. Total fouls (none fouled out) - Leland 15; Somonauk 16. Free throw percentages - Leland 80.0; Somonauk 64.3.



Top seeds advance to finals



Thursday turned out to be "senior night" at the Little Ten Conference Boys Basketball Tournament.


Top-seeded Serena needed a huge performance from senior David Pinney, a clutch 3-point goal by senior reserve Jake Naggs and 72 percent second-half shooting to get past No. 4 seed Newark in the opening semifinal.


In the nightcap, Somonauk senior Brett Smith scored 13 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as the second-seeded Bobcats used a 21-10 fourth quarter to slip by Hinckley-Big Rock.


In a reversal from last year's tournament finals, Serena and Somonauk will meet for the tournament championship at 7:30 p.m. Friday, immediately following the 6 p.m. third-place game between defending champion Newark and 2004 runner-up H-BR.


Serena 60, Newark 47


Newark grabbed leads of 16-12 after one quarter and 26-24 after two behind the hot hand of the Norsemen's Eric Andersen, who had seven and six points, respectively in those periods. It looked bleaker for Serena when leading scorer Connor Finley, who tried and missed just one field goal attempt, left the game with three fouls at 4:16 of the second quarter.


But Pinney, who finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds, kept the Huskers (14-5) close. The solidly-built 6-foot-1 post had six points to lead his team's 6 of 8 shooting in the opening quarter, then got a steal and layup at 4:40 of the second which -- with a trey by Dallas Kempiak -- gave Serena a 22-20 lead.


"Without Connor scoring, the big thing was that the other kids stepped up for us," said Serena coach Randy Goodbred. "This group was in a double-overtime game with Newark and a triple-overtime game with Plano, so they're a pretty resilient bunch. ... Our defense really settled over the last three quarters.


"They took a good run at us in the first half, but we took it, didn't get rattled and came back with one of our own in the second."


That second half was sparked by Finley -- who hit his first three shots of the third period, including a trey at 4:38 to put Serena on top -- and finished the game with 12 points.


But it was bench that put the Huskers over the top. Naggs drilled a three to put them up for good 38-35 with 1:26 left. After Cooper Westvig hit two free throws, reserve Jeremy Foreman beat the quarter buzzer with 15-footer from the corner for a 42-36 advantage.


Pinney, who sat after getting his third foul at 3:14 of the third, joined Kempiak in going 2-for-2 in the fourth period, and Finley finished his night with a drive down the lane and three free throws to keep Newark at least seven points down the rest of the way.


While Newark was making just 4 of 17 tries in the fourth, the Huskers hit on 6 of 7 shots to make them 13 of 18 second half from the field.


Anderson ended up with 18 points, 6-4 sophomore Mitch Dunlap 10 points and senior Tim Glunier 10 rebounds for the Norsemen (11-11).


"We're a little short on the bench and eventually our legs wore down, as I feared would happen," said Newark coach Dale Skelton. "We came out with some spring in our step, were quick with the ball and defensively, but as the game went on, Serena's overall strength and quickness caught up to us."


NEWARK (47) - Dunlap 4-9 1-2 10, Sperry 2-7 0-0 4, Gunier 2-7 3-4 7, Sleezer 2-7 2-4 6, Anderson 7-14, 2-4 18, Thanepohn 1-4 0-0 2, Monkemeyer 0-3 0-2 0, Gudino 0-0 0-0 0, Buchannan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-51 8-16 47.

SERENA (60) - Westvig 0-2 8-11 8, Pinney 7-8 0-1 14, Mason 3-5 2-4 8, Finley 4-7 3-4 12, Kempiak 6-12 0-0 13, Naggs 1-3 0-0 3, Hunt 0-2 0-0 0, Foreman 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 23-40 13-19 60.


Newark (11-11)      16   10   10   11 - 47

Serena (14-5)         12   12   18   18 - 60

Three-point baskets - Newark 3-14 (Anderson 2-3, Dunlap 1-3, Sperry 0-3, Thanepohn 0-3, Sleezer 0-1, Monkemeyer 0-1), Serena 3-7 (Finley 1-2, Kempiak 1-2, Naggs 1-2, Hunt 0-1). Rebounds - Newark 28 (Gunier 10), Serena 31 (Pinney 11). Turnovers - Newark 17, Serena 16. Field goal percentage - Newark 35.3, Serena 57.5. Three-point percentage - Newark 21.4, Serena 42.8. Free throw percentage - Newark 50.0, Serena 68.4.


Somonauk 48, Hinckley-Big Rock 40


The Bobcats, who had already lost twice this season to H-BR, struggled on the offensive end, hitting just 10-of-31 shots through three quarters.


Their biggest scoring threat in that span was guard Al Adrian, who connected on four of his five three-points on his way to a game-high 17 points.


It wasn't until the fourth quarter that Smith went crazy. With Somonauk down 30-27, the senior sank two outside jumpers to start the fourth quarter and put the hosts up one point. A bucket by Matt Koehling regained the lead for H-BR for just 11 seconds before Adrian's last trey put the Bobcats on top for good with 5:55 to play.


Smith then popped in 7 of 8 free throws to finish with 16 points, while Darvil Hayes hit 3 of 4 and Adrian 2 of 3 -- all in the final 2:35 -- to ice the win.


But Somonauk won the game at the defensive end, holding Hinckley to just that one Koehling field goal for a stretch of 8:22, outscoring the Royals 14-2 from a Jake Austin trey at 2:36 of the third to Kevin Korth's fast-break bucket at 2:04 of the fourth.


"We played good post defense," said Somonauk coach Ron Hunt. "We limited their second shots after they got a ton of offensive boards the first time we played them (54-46 at Plano Dec. 30), and against their 1-3-1 that ate us up at their place (51-39 Jan. 28), we had a lot more composure. Brett and Darvil (Hayes) hit shots and looked confident out there.


"We did have five seniors out there. We were excited at the beginning of the game and made some errors from being jacked up, but we settled down and leadership took over. The seniors have a common commitment, to do what it takes to win this tournament."


Somonauk also put the clamps on Royals sharpshooter Ryan Michael, who finished the night 3 of 10 for just six points. Without him, Hinckley was struggled to find a flow. Austin with 13 points was the only double-figure scorer.


"I don't know if they're more experienced than we are, but they played harder than we did," said H-BR coach Bill Sambrookes. "Their defensive intensity from the middle of the second quarter on was harder than we reacted to. We had no offense after that, we didn't have good looks after that, we didn't set any screens to get open after that. We didn't do anything to get them out of our faces. We just stood around at the perimeter.


"They got every rebound that went up and every loose ball that hit the floor. We were hoping to get them, they were expecting to get them."


HINCKLEY-BIG ROCK (40) - Groch 1-3 0-0 2, Korth 3-5 1-2 7, Koehling 4-7 1-2 9, Michael 3-10 0-0 6, Austin 4-8 1-2 13, Alfredson 0-0 0-0 0, Oros 0-0 0-0 0, Cook 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 16-37 3-6 40.

SOMONAUK (48) - Hayes 1-5 4-6 6, Johnson 1-4 1-2 3, Smith 4-10 7-8 16, Adrian 5-7 2-3 17, Napolitano 3-8 0-0 6, Bruggemann 0-1 0-0 0, Root 0-1 0-0 0, Hochstatter 0-0 0-0 0, Grenemeier 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-36 14-19 48.


Hinckley-Big Rock (12-10)    14   7    9   10 - 40

Somonauk (14-7)                     9   10   8   21 - 48

Three-point baskets - H-BR 5-14 (Austin 4-8, Cook 1-3, Michael 0-2, Groch 0-1), Somonauk 6-17 (Adrian 5-6, Smith 1-3, Hayes 0-4, Johnson 0-2, Bruggemann 0-1, Root 0-1). Rebounds - H-BR 23 (Koehling 10), Somonauk 26 (Smith 5, Napolitano 5). Turnovers - H-BR 14, Somonauk 11. Field goal percentage - H-BR 43.2, Somonauk 38.8. Three-point percentage - H-BR 37.4, Somonauk 35.2. Free throw percentage - H-BR 50.0, Somonauk 73.7.



By Charlie Ellerbrock - Ottawa Times


Hinckley-Big Rock 51, Newark 46


The Royals, whose lack of movement drew the ire of coach Bill Sambrookes after Thursday's semifinal loss to Somonauk, came out pushing the ball upcourt and raced to leads of 9-2 and 16-8. Jake Austin hit a pair of threes in the first period and 6-3 center Matt Koehling scored five of his 13 points and grabbed four of his 10 rebounds in the second.


The sparkless Norsemen hung around, using seven of Eric Andersen's 15 points to close within 23-20 at the half. A Dane Sleezer trey and a Tim Gunier lay-up on the break gave them a short-lived 25-23 lead early in the third quarter.


"The kids said at halftime they felt like they were going at half-speed out there," said Newark coach Dale Skelton. "We had kinda cement legs for a while, Who knows why? Sometimes you have energy and sometimes you don't. They realized they didn't have it and tried to play their way through it, but it was too difficult.


"We didn't play well in the first half -- I was surprised we were still in it -- and we didn't discipline ourselves enough down the stretch."


Hinckley-Big Rock took control at the end of the third period, erasing a two-point deficit with a 13-3 run capped by a Koehling 15-footer at 3:41 of the fourth to make it 42-34 Royals. Kevin Korth, who went 4-for-4 from the field and 8-for-8 from the line on the night, hit six of those tosses in the final 2:11 to keep Newark at a safe distance.


"We wanted to push the ball up the court last night too, but sometimes for our guys, that's not their priority," said Sambrookes. "We stressed it coming out tonight and got some (fast) breaks. The key though was when we didn't get the break; we were patient in our offense and made seven, eight passes. I'll bet 85 percent of the time we did that, we got a decent look and knocked a lot of them down.


"Getting third wasn't what we came here to do, but it feels better going out of here with a win than with a loss like we did getting second last year."


Glunier also had 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for Newark (11-12).


NEWARK (46) - Dunlap 3-12 0-0 6, Sperry 1-4 2-2 4, Gunier 6-11 3-5 15, Sleezer 2-5 1-2 6, Anderson 4-11 6-8 15, Thanepohn 0-0 0-0 0, Monkemeyer 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-44 12-17 46.

HINCKLEY-BIG ROCK (51) - Michael 3-11 3-4 9, Korth 4-4 8-8 12, Koehling 6-13 1-2 13, Groch 1-3 0-0 2, Austin 3-9 0-1 9, Cook 1-3 0-0 3, Alfredson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 18-45 12-15 51.


Newark (11-12)                         8   12   11   15 - 46

Hinckley-Big Rock (13-10)    12   11   12   16 - 51

Three-point baskets - Newark 2-8 (Sleezer 1-1, Anderson 1-3, Monkemeyer 0-1, Dunlap 0-3), H-BR 3-11 (Austin 3-8, Cook 0-2, Michael 0-1). Rebounds - Newark 28 (Glunier 11), H-BR 32 (Koehling 10). Turnovers - Newark 12, H-BR 12. Field goal percentage - Newark 36.3, H-BR 40.0. Three-point percentage - Newark 25.0, H-BR 27.3. Free throw percentage - Newark 70.6, H-BR 80.0.


Huskers clip Somonauk for LTC title



The coaches of the Little Ten Conference should get together and vote on numbers to play in the Illinois Lottery. For a league that will likely go down to the very last game to determine a regular-season champion, they hit the nail right on the head seeding the conference tournament.


No. 1 seeded Serena used a 13-3 run spanning the first two quarters to take the lead, then made just enough free throws in the final quarter to complete a workman-like 51-44 victory over No. 2 seed Somonauk in the LTC Tournament championship.


"There were five or six teams capable of winning this thing, and if you go back to Tuesday, we were both lucky to still be here for this game," said Serena coach Randy Goodbred, who also coached the Huskers to their last LTC Tourney title in 2000. "There's parity galore in the Little Ten Conference. Anybody could win this and we're just happy it was us."


Serena 51, Somonauk 44


David Pinney scored 14 points, Dallas Kempiak 12 and Cooper Westvig and Kyle Mason eight apiece for the winners. However, the key to the Huskers' victory came at the other end of the floor where their defense forced Somonauk to continue its' cold tournament shooting.


The Bobcats hit only 3-of-14 first-quarter shots to start a 29.6 percent shooting night (16-of-54). That early cold hand allowed Serena to go on its decisive spurt, starting with a Pinney bucket at 3:45 of the first and ending on a Kempiak leaner off the baseline at 5:07 of the second.


During the near six-minute stretch that ended with Serena up 19-7, Somonauk managed only an Al Adrian trey at the end of the opening period.


"Pinney, every time I saw him he was getting an offensive rebound or shooting a free throw because we couldn't stop him. He was tough as nails," said Somonauk coach Ron Hunt. "Credit Serena. They defended well and got offensive rebounds. They just played better and executed when they had to. ... I don't know why, but we just didn't shoot the ball well all tournament. But our kids didn't give up.


"It hard for these seniors to put their heart and soul into something only to come up short. But they're young and resilient. They'll come back."


The Bobcats did come back to within one possession several times, the latest when two free throws by Brett Smith at 4:57 of the fourth quarter cut Serena's lead to 35-33.


But Huskers stepped to the line 10 times in that period and while eight times they made just 1-of-2, it was still enough to stave the Somonauk rally. They finished 19-of-30 for the game to avenge a loss to the Bobcats at the Plano Christmas Tournament.


"They didn't shoot well coming out, but while a little of that had to do with our defense, we were fortunate they didn't make some of those shots," said Goodbred. "We rebounded and converted, and that little bit of cushion was enough to keep us going through the run they put on us. ... We knew they were too good to shoot like that all night, Hayes, Smith and Adrian can really shoot the ball, but our defense on them (a combined 6-of-28 for 22 points) was what won the game tonight."


Hayes and Jon Napolitano led the 'Cats with 10 points each, while Smith and Jim Johnson added seven apiece.


SOMONAUK (44) - Hayes 3-13 1-2 10, Johnson 3-6 1-2 7, Smith 1-3 5-6 7, Adrian 2-12 0-0 5, Napolitano 5-11 0-0 10, Hochstatter 1-3 0-0 2, Bruggemann 1-6 0-0 3. Totals 16-54 7-10 44.

SERENA (51) - Westvig 2-5 2-4 8, Pinney 5-6 4-6 14, Mason 2-4 4-8 8, Finley 1-8 4-6 6, Kempiak 4-6 4-4 12, Naggs 0-5 1-2 1, Foreman 0-1 0-0 0, Hunt 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 15-36 19 - 30 51.


Somonauk (14-8)      7      9      13      15 - 44

Serena (15-5)          14      8      10      19 - 51

Three-point baskets - Somonauk 5-20 (Hayes 3-8,. Bruggemann 1-1, Adrian 1-8, Hochstatter 0-1, Napolitano 0-2), Serena 2-6 (Westvig 2-2, Finley 0-1, Kempiak 0-1, Naggs 0-2). Rebounds - Somonauk 26 (Hochstatter 6), Serena 35 (Mason 8, Finley 8). Turnovers - Somonauk 9, Serena 17. Field goal percentage - Somonauk 29.6, Serena 41.6. Three-point percentage - Somonauk 25.0, Serena 33.3. Free throw percentage - Somonauk 70.0, Serena 63.3.


                        W   L
Newark                  7   1
Hinckley-Big Rock       6   2
Serena                  6   2
Somonauk                6   2
LaMoille                4   4
Indian Creek            3   5
Leland                  2   6
Earlville               1   7
Paw Paw                 1   7

2005 Little Ten Conference All-Conference Team


Eric Anderson, Newark, Senior : The Norsemen team captain averaged 12.7 points per game and was named to All-Tournament team at Sandwich Thanksgiving Tournament.


Tim Gunier, Newark, Senior : Led Newark in rebounding and averaged 10.0 points per game.


Ryan Michael, Hinckley-Big Rock, Senior : Two-Time All-LTC selection.  Led Royals with 16.0 points per game.


David Pinney, Serena, Senior : Named Huskers Most Valuable Player after averaging 14.0 points per game.


Conner Finley, Serena, Junior : Led Serena in scoring with 16.0 points per game.  Also named to All-Tournament team at Plano Christmas Classic.


Al Adrian, Somonauk, Senior : Averaged 11.0 points per game, 4.0 assists per game and 2.0 steals per game.


Brett Smith, Somonauk, Senior : Averaged 10.0 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game, 4.0 assists per game and 2.0 steals per game.


Jon Napolitano, Somonauk, Senior : Led Bobcats in scoring (12.0 ppg) and rebounds (5.0 rpg).


Brad Cole, LaMoille, Senior : Averaged 12.0 points per game for the Lions.  Also averaged 6.3 rebounds per game and picked up 54 steals.


Paul Prawdzik, Paw Paw, Sophomore : Led Bulldogs in many offensive statistical categories.  Hit 66-percent from the foul line and grabbed 168 rebounds.