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Somonauk Wins Second Straight LTC Tourney Championship

Bobcats defeat Newark; LaMoille wins third from Serena

Paw Paw, Serena and LaMoille Advance on Opening Night


Paw Paw 55, Kirkland-Hiawatha 49


By Andy Tavegia, Ottawa Times


Sometimes you just don't want to play at home.


Paw Paw has had its fare share of home games so far this year, so pardon the Bulldogs if they didn't exactly like the idea of having to play another game at home this coming Thursday. So, instead, they decided just to avoid that all together.


Eighth-seeded Paw Paw played just well enough down the stretch to edge ninth-seeded Kirkland Hiawatha 55-49 in the opening game of the Little Ten Conference Tournament on Monday. The victory keeps the Bulldogs (8-9) in championship bracket at Somonauk High School, as opposed to a spot in the consolation bracket, which will play its games at Paw Paw.


"I didn't think we came out with a lot of energy; it was pretty low," said Paw Paw coach Blake Strong. "We gave up a lot of buckets inside. Kirkland hit a lot of big shots, too. They kept fighting with us and wouldn't go away. Iwas worried up until the end there. But we got it."


While they are happy to maintain a spot at Somonauk, they could do without the reward. With the win, the Bulldogs will face top-seeded Newark today at 6:30 p.m.


"We've got a very different and difficult challenge ahead of us (tonight)," Strong said. "That's how we presented it to the kids in the locker room after the game. We absolutely have to play better than we did tonight. It'll be very tough, but that's why they play the games. We're going to try and take our best shot."


The Bulldogs led most of the way against the Hawks (2-16), but never could completely shake them. That's because of some rough shooting.


Paw Paw committed just one turnover in the first half yet still only led 22-20 at halftime. In the opening half, PPHS was 9-for-34 shooting.


The Bulldogs then began to commit costly turnovers in the third quarter. Right out of the break, Hiawatha forced two turnovers, leading to a 7-1 run that gave the Hawks a 27-25 edge with 3 minutes, 7 seconds left in the period.


Luckily, PPHS immediately responded with a 10-0 run that included two big 3-pointers from Jeremy Rosenkrans and a steal and breakaway layup from David Glenn. That made it 35-27 with 44.3 seconds left in the period.


Still, Hiawatha refused to go away. It opened the fourth period with a 10-3 run that made it 40-38 with 4:38 left in the ballgame. Later, big man Larry Walton tallied a second-chance bucket, which was followed by a steal and easy layup for Frankie Doles that cut the deficit to 43-42 with 2:56 left.


But as he has done all year long, highly improved senior Mike DeKing picked up his game. He hit a free-throw line jumper and then, following a free throw from Heath Nicholson and a Paw Paw steal, he calmly drained consecutive free throws to make it 48-42 with 1:48 remaining.


The Hawks came within three points on two occasions, including on a Jevonnie Andujar 3-pointer with 38.8 seconds remaining (52-49). But Tony Dodaro, who also has played well for the Bulldogs this year, hit a free throw and received a 3-point play opportunity following a layup. He missed the final free throw, but it didn't matter as the layup was enough to propel the Bulldogs to the six-point victory.


"We responded every time they would come at us," Strong said. "We've seen them three times now this year, and we may see them again. It's been close each time."


Dodaro had a double-double of 18 points, 11 rebounds and four steals to lead Paw Paw. He was 6-of-9 from the field. DeKing was next in line with 15 points and three steals.


As a team, PPHS had 15 steals.


"We're thrilled to be playing (tonight)," Strong said. "We definitely are excited to go against the No. 1 seed. It's a good opportunity to see where we're at."


Floyd Webster had 13 points for Hiawatha while Andujar scored 11 points.


HIAWATHA (49) — Failla 2-12 0-0 5, Keneway 2-8 1-2 5, Webster 4-9 4-4 13, Doles 2-5 1-2 6, Andujar 4-15 2-4 11, Papke 0-0 0-0 0, Walton 4-7 1-2 9. Totals 18-56 9-14 49.


PAW PAW (55) — Rosenkrans 3-8 0-0 9, Hendren 0-5 2-2 2, Glenn 1-4 0-1 2, Nicholson 1-14 2-6 4, Dodaro 6-9 6-10 18, Eisener 2-3 0-0 4, Penman 0-1 1-2 1, DeKing 5-11 4-4 15. Totals 18-55 15-25 55.


Hiawatha (2-16) 9 11 10 19 — 49

Paw Paw (8-9) 10 12 15 18 — 55


3-point goals — Hiawatha 4-18 (Webster 1-2, Failla 1-5, Andujar 1-7, Doles 1-4); Paw Paw 4-18 (Rosenkrans 3-6, DeKing 1-4, Hendren 0-4, Nicholson 0-3, Dodaro 0-1). Rebounds — Hiawatha 37 (Webster 10, Walton 9, Failla 8); Paw Paw 37 (Dodaro 10, Nicholson 9). Steals — Hiawatha 8 (Andujar 3); Paw Paw 15 (Dodaro 4, Glenn 4, DeKing 3). Blocks — Hiawatha 4 (Webster 4); Paw Paw 2 (DeKing, Nicholson). Turnovers — Hiawatha 20; Paw Paw 13. Total fouls (fouled out) — Hiawatha 18 (Walton); Paw Paw 17.


Serena 50, Hinckley-Big Rock 36


By Andy Tavegia, Ottawa Times


The mood around Serena has been a bit grim in 2009.


Since January, the Huskers were just 2-5 heading into the opening night of the Little Ten Conference Tournament. A little rhythm and blues solved that Monday.


Serena provided the "rhythm" and it made Hinckley-Big Rock feel the "blues" at Somonauk. The fifth-seeded Huskers were solid offensively most of the night and added some terrific defense to upset the fourth-seeded Royals 50-36.


If there's one thing Serena has struggled with so far this year it's been staying in rhythm. That's exactly what improved to allow the Huskers to claim their first victory this year over a team with a winning record.


Serena (8-11) showed terrific ball movement throughout the night, first draining some outside shots to start quick and then moving inside to finish off H-BR (12-9).


"During the season we've kind of struggled getting the ball movement going,"said junior Brady Johnson. "That's what we talked about. I thought we came out and established ourselves and got into a rhythm. We were playing our game, and it worked. We came out strong."


Johnson and senior Blake Chapman were the cogs in that offense. Johnson (15 points, five rebounds, three steals) scored big early while Chapman (17 points, five assists, three steals) was clutch at key moments in the second half.


Johnson exposed Hinckley-Big Rock's zone defense early with his hot shooting. He scored 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the first 11 minutes, 40 seconds of the game to lead Serena to a 21-12 advantage. Hinckley-Big Rock wound up using a 6-2 run to pull within 23-20 before Chapman found Wes Vatland underneath the basket in the closing seconds to make it a five-point game heading into the locker room.


At the start of the second half, the Royals abandoned that zone defense, which began to throw SHS for a loop. After turning the ball over just four times in the opening half, Serena had four giveaways in the first three minutes against a man defense. That paced an 8-0 run that gave H-BR a 28-25 lead.


That's when Chapman came alive. He made a nice dribble-drive that resulted in a layup and then drained a 3-pointer with 3:12 left in the third period to make it 30-28. One play later, Vatland scored inside off a nice interior pass to make it a four-point lead.


The Royals pulled within 32-31 before Chapman drove the length of the floor once again for a layup just prior to the buzzer.


"I'm just glad to see we didn't continue to turn the ball over," said Serena coach Jonathan Immel. "We got a few rebounds and then found some better looks near the basket. That was key for us."


It didn't change much in the fourth quarter either. Another nice interior pass to Vatland completed a 5-0 run to start the fourth quarter, making it 39-31 with 6:21 left and forcing a Hinckley-Big Rock timeout.


The Royals scored out of the timeout, but Chapman split a pair of free throws on the other end before Johnson again found Vatland inside for an easy layup, making it 42-33.


Hinckley-Big Rock, which was just 2-for-13 shooting the fourth quarter, came no closer than seven points the rest of the way. Serena, meanwhile, put the game away by hitting 8 of 13 free throws in the final period.


"To only give up 36 points is terrific," Immel said. "The kids have worked on defense a lot this year, and I thought we played much better with it tonight. In past games we've gone two to three minutes with no baskets while giving up some easy layups and jump shots on the other end. It was the opposite tonight."


On the night, H-BR was just 15-for-44 from the field (34 percent), including 0-for-13 from the 3-point line. Brian Michaels did play well, however, winding up with a game-high 19 points.


"We struggled a lot in the first half," said Royals coach Bill Sambrookes. "Tonight what you saw in the fourth quarter was more of what you saw in the first half. For a while, the kids did what we asked them to do and we had some success. But then we got away from it. We got away from playing with intensity and playing aggressive. We just didn't play a very good game."


SERENA (50) — Chapman 6-11 4-7 17, Kreinbrink 2-6 1-2 5, Kent 0-0 0-0 0, Schleutker 1-2 0-0 2, Vatland 4-6 0-0 8, Anliker 0-1 1-2 1, Johnson 6-14 0-0 15, Wiley 0-2 0-0 0, Coyer 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 19-42 8-13 50.


HINCKLEY-BIG ROCK (36) — Craig 0-1 0-0 0, Michaels 9-17 1-2 19, Salazar 2-12 2-2 6, Burks 1-9 3-3 5, Hemesath 3-3 0-0 6, Korth 0-1 0-0 0, Blume 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 15-44 6-7 36.


Serena (8-11) 18   7   9  16 — 50

H-BR (12-9)    10 10 11    5 — 36


3-point goals — Serena 4-12 (Johnson 3-8, Chapman 1-2, Kreinbrink 0-2); H-BR 0-13 (Michaels 0-4, Salazar 0-4, Burks 0-4, Craig 0-1). Rebounds — Serena 28 (Johnson 5, Coyer 5); H-BR 22 (Salazar 7). Steals — Serena 8 (Chapman 3, Johnson 3); H-BR 8 (Michaels 2, Salazar 2, Korth 2). Blocks — Serena 1 (Schleutker); H-BR 3 (Salazar, Korth, Blume). Turnovers — Serena 13; H-BR 15. Total fouls (fouled out) — Serena 9; H-BR 12 (Salazar).


LaMoille 63, Indian Creek 61


By Jon Styf - DeKalb Daily Chronicle


As Reece Bend released the ball and it swished through the net as the buzzer rang out to end the third quarter, the Indian Creek bench erupted as Bend pumped his fist.


After trailing for much of the night, Indian Creek had finally given itself the lead in its Little Ten Conference Tournament opener.


But the elation was a little pre-mature as the third-seeded Timberwolves struggled to score in the final quarter of a 63-61 loss to LaMoille.


“We just didn’t make enough plays in the fourth quarter,” Indian Creek coach Joe Piekarz said. “We had that really good run in the third quarter but we didn’t make some shots and made some bad turnovers at the end.”


The Timberwolves (13-7) ended up with the ball under their hoop and a chance to win the game with 3.1 seconds remaining after a LaMoille turnover.


But Indian Creek inbounded the ball to Seth Sanderson, who was tied up, and the jump ball and victory went to LaMoille.


The loss hurt a little more because it evened the series with the Lions, making it a little more difficult choice on who will be the second seed at the Class 1A Polo Regional.


The Timberwolves biggest trouble on defense came from the Lions’ Monroe brothers. Jesse Monroe scored 35 points while Matt Monroe added 13.


“Size-wise we didn’t really have anybody to match up with [Jesse],” Piekarz said. “He was good tonight.”


Indian Creek saw a big second half from Blake Mitchell, who banked in a late three-pointer to put the


Timberwolves within the final two-point margin and finished with 19 points.

Matt Davis scored 15 points while Seth Sanderson added 11 and Bend added eight off the bench.


“[Bend] always hustles and he’s always trying to make plays,” Piekarz said. “He’s a big part of our team and he does his best to try to create things.”


An opening night of upsets at Somonauk left both the Timberwolves and H-BR in the consolation bracket at Paw Paw on Thursday. Indian Creek will face the loser of Wednesday’s Somonauk and Earlville-Leland game.


If both H-BR and Indian Creek win Thursday, they will face each other at 5 p.m. Friday in the consolation final at Somonauk.


LaMoille (63) - J. Monroe 10 15-22 35, Leija 0 0-0 0, Czajka 0 0-0 0, M. Monroe 4 4-6 12, Suplee 4 0-1 10, DeLong 2 0-2 5, Taylor 0 0-0 0, Swanson 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 19-31 63.


Indian Creek (61)- Foster 1 0-0 3, Peterson 0 1-2 1, Mitchell 6 4-4 19, Sanderson 5 1-2 11, Davis 6 0-0 15, Bend 2 1-2 8, Wong 0 0-0 0, Lazzarotto 2 0-0 4. Totals 22 7-10 61.



LaMoille           17   21  10   15   -    63

Indian Creek    13   19 20    9     -    61

Three-point goals – LaMoille 3 (Suplee 2, DeLong), Indian Creek 7 (Davis 3, Mitchell 3, Bend, Foster). Total Fouls – LaMoille 14, Indian Creek 22. Fouled Out – Bend, Peterson.


Top-seeded Norsemen, No. 2 Bobcats advance to semis


Newark 69, Paw Paw 52


By Brian Hoxsey, Ottawa Times


It’s a sure bet that if Newark coach Rick Tollefson could bottle his team's first quarter performance in Tuesday night’s Little Ten Conference Tournament game against Paw Paw, he’d make a lot of money on E-bay.


The top-seed Norsemen nailed six shots from beyond the arc, used pin-point passing and forced nine turnovers in the opening eight minutes. That deadly combination staked them to a 28-10 lead on their way to a 69-52 victory over the eighth-seeded Bulldogs and a berth inThursday’s semifinal game against No. 5 Serena.


"Paw Paw came out in that 1-3-1 and I thought we passed the ball and skipped the ball well," said Tollefson. "We were shooting a lot of threes and hitting them (12-for-28) and when the three-ball is going in, zones are pretty easy to get around. We probably could have looked inside a little more, but everyone was hitting from the outside."


The Norsemen assault from the arc began early as senior Drew Tollefson buried a trey a minute into the game to make it 5-0. Kyle Anderson and Nick Slack hit consecutive 3’s midway through the quarter to push the lead to 13-6. It was 16-10 NHS after a short jumper by Bulldog senior Tony Dodaro, but the Norsemen closed out the period on a 12-0 run as Anderson and Slack had combined for half of those points.


Junior Zack Thanepohn’s seven-foot banker with 4:49 on the second-period clock put Newark up 35-15 and it looked as if the higher seed was going to run away with things. The Bulldogs used an 8-2 run to close out the first half, but still trailed 40-25.


After Newark center Matt Eisnaugle open the third frame with a free throw-line jumper, Paw Paw started to inch closer, starting with a Dodaro short jumper that made it 42-27. Heath Nicholson then nailed a long three and junior Jeremy Rosenkrans converted an old fashion three-point play and it was 42-33 at the 6:23 mark, which prompted Tollefson to call a time out.


"It was one of those things where we were getting a lot of kids playing time and we got lax," Tollefson said. "We weren’t taking care of the ball and trying to block shots instead of rebounding. They were getting the ball in the post anytime they wanted and cutters were left open. I took the time out to clear things up and try and clear the fog from brains. We were able to get it back after that."


Out of the time out, Anderson scored on a nifty drive and off a turnover, Tollefson swished a wing trey to push the lead back to 47-33. After Dodaro meshed a lane jumper for PPHS, Newark exploded again, this time a 13-0 run with Anderson netted 11 of his game-high 24 points during the streak that left them with a 63-42 lead through three.


"For a while it looked like we could make it interesting, especially early in the third quarter," said Paw Paw coach Blake Strong. "The first quarter it didn’t seem like Newark missed a shot. We switched out of our zone and that seemed to bother them for a while. They were a really great shooting team tonight. They have some great shooters and work well with each other. They are the best team we have seen this year."


The sophomore Anderson also led NHS with six assists and four steals. The younger Tollefson added 12 points and five assists, Slack 11 points and Eisnaugle 10 points, a team-high seven rebounds and a pair of blocks. Rosenkrans paced Paw Paw with 11 points, four assists and three steals, while Nicholson contributed 10 points.


PAW PAW (52) — Dodaro 4-9 1-1 9, Nicholson 4-9 0-0 10, Glenn 1-4 2-2 4, Rosenkrans 4-5 1-1 11, DeKing 2-8 2-4 6, Hendren 0-2 0-0 0, Eisener 2-4 2-2 6, Penman 2-4 2-4 6. Totals 19-45 10-14 52.


NEWARK (69) — Ky. Anderson 7-17 5-6 24, Avery 3-9 1-1 7, Tollefson 4-7 0-0 12, Slack 4-8 0-0 11, Eisnaugle 5-8 0-0 10, McGrath 0-2 0-0 0, Thanepohn 2-4 0-0 4, Warpinski 0-3 0-2 0, Soare 0-0 0-0 0, Schultz 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 25-59 7-11 69.


Paw Paw (8-10)   10  15  17  10 — 52

Newark (15-4)     28  12  23    6 — 69


3-point goals — Paw Paw 4-14 (Nicholson 2-6, Glenn 0-1, Rosenkrans 2-3, DeKing 0-2, Hendren 0-2); Newark 12-28 (Ky. Anderson 5-10, Avery 0-1, Tollefson 4-7, Slack 3-7, McGrath 0-2, Warpinski 0-1). Rebounds — Paw Paw 32 (DeKing 8, Penman 7); Newark 26 (Eisnaugle 7). Assists — Paw Paw 9 (Rosenkrans 4); Newark 15 (Ky. Anderson 6, Tollefson 5). Steals — Paw Paw 7 (Rosenkrans 3); Newark 12 (Ky. Anderson 4). Blocks — Paw Paw 1 (DeKing); Newark 3 (Eisnaugle 2). Turnovers — Paw Paw 24, Newark 12. Total fouls (fouled out) — Paw Paw 12 (Glenn); Newark 12.


Somonauk 59, Leland-Earlville 42


By Bill Lidinsky - Ottawa Times


Almost all high school basketball coaches preach to their clubs during halftime the importance of going into the second half of a tight game with intensity and drive.


In order to claim an advantage during the opening minutes of the third quarter, teams know a good start to the final 16 minutes of play often pay great dividends in terms of the final numbers on the scoreboard.


Somonauk realized the positive fortune of a stellar third period Tuesday evening during its quarterfinal matchup with Leland-Earlville at the Little Ten Conference Tournament.


The hosts and second-seeded Bobcats broke open a hotly contested game at the intermission by outscoring the seventh-seed Panthers 13-2 to take a 15-point lead into the final eight minutes of play.


That proved to be more than enough for Somonauk, as it kept pace with Leland-Earlville in the fourth quarter to come away with a decisive 59-42 victory.


The Bobcats (13-8) now advance to the LTC tourney semifinals on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. versus sixth-seeded LaMoille, while the Panthers will move on to the consolation side of the bracket with a 7:15 p.m. matchup with third-seeded Indian Creek at Paw Paw.


The Panthers (5-15) battled the Bobcats tooth and nail for the first 16 minutes of play, trailing by only four at halftime.But Somonauk’s staunch defense in the third quarter limited Leland-Earlville to only two made free throws as the Bobcats took control and would never relinquish it.


"The third quarter has been our bugaboo all year. I guess we just won’t come into the locker room at halftime from now on," said Leland-Earlville coach Randy Goodbred. "It’s been our nemesis all year. We just have not been able to put a good third quarter together. If maybe we weather that storm in the third period, it could have been a different result. I don’t know if we really could have taken them in the end, but at least we kept with Somonauk for the first two quarters."


The Panthers bolted out to an early 5-0 lead before the Bobcats went on an 11-0 run to grab an 11-5 advantage courtesy of junior post player Andrew Fischer’s old-fashioned three-point play with three minutes to go in the opening period. Senior Luke Anderson then hit two consecutive long-range 3-point bombs as Leland-Earlville drew even at 11.


The quarter would end in a 13-13 stalemate as the two clubs went toe to toe in the second period.


That’s when junior guard Brock Kartheiser came off the bench for Somonauk to score nine of his game-high 14 points to lift the Bobcats to a 28-24 advantage at the half.


"Kartheiser had a great game for us tonight especially in the second quarter when he started taking the ball to the basket and attacking their zone defense," said Somonauk coach Ron Hunt. "That’s what we needed to do against a talented team like Leland-Earlville. They made us work very hard in the first half and we knew we had to rededicate our efforts in the third quarter and we did that with some good defense."


Somonauk forced five Leland-Earlville turnovers in the third period and didn’t allow a Panther field goal in the quarter as well.


"As always, defense is our key," Hunt said. "We played much better defense in the third quarter and that allowed us to gain a big advantage going into the fourth. From there, we just tried to continue the pressure and maintain our lead and ultimately we were successful."


Senior guard Shayne Peterson helped Kartheiser’s efforts with 12 points, as did senior forward Nick Eichas with 12 tallies and nine rebounds. Fischer added seven points and a game-high 11 boards, while junior guard Jeremy Schmitt also chipped in with seven markers for Somonauk.


Anderson led Leland-Earlville with 13 points, while Danny Heath scored 10 to help pace the Panthers' efforts.


Consolation Bracket (at Paw Paw)


Hinckley-Big Rock 65, Kirkland-Hiawatha 45


By Jon Styf - DeKalb Daily Chronicle


On the night when Hinckley-Big Rock senior Ryan Salazar scored his 1,000th career point, he also saw a first.


Salazar leaped into the air to block a second-quarter Hiawatha shot and was called for goaltending, a call that left the H-BR fan base in attendance shocked.


The call, however, had no impact on the outcome of the Royals’ 64-45 win in the Little Ten Tournament consolation semifinals at Paw Paw that included a 21-0 run that started in the first quarter and ran deep into the second.


“I think we were just pushing the ball up the court and making transition baskets,” Salazar said.


Salazar scored 11 points in the first half, and had no idea that he needed just two second half points to reach 1,000 career points. But when he made his first basket after intermission, a layup after a jump stop and his final points of the evening, his mother shouted out the accomplishment.


“I honestly had no idea,” Salazar said. “I heard my mom yell ‘That’s 1,000!’ from the stands and I thought ‘What are you talking about.”


Salazar scored four of his first-half points off layups where he thought about dunking and came near the rim. But the goaltending call still came as a shock to the Royals (13-9), who razzed him when he came to the sideline.


“I know he can get there [and dunk] but I think he knows I would rather have him make the layup than miss a dunk,” H-BR coach Bill Sambrookes said. “He doesn’t showboat.”


The rest of the Royals’ scoring was balanced throughout the game as Salazar led the way with 13, Ryan Korth scored 10, Brian Michaels had nine, Alex Hemesath added eight, Kyle Michael scored seven and Kyle Burks had six.


“I think we were active on defense and pushed the ball up and got into the passing lanes,” Sambrookes said.


The Royals will move on to play at 5 p.m. today against Indian Creek in the Little Ten Conference tournament consolation final at Somonauk.


“That’s a heck of a consolation game,” Sambrookes said. “We’re tied for the conference lead and we play them in two weeks for the conference championship, unless one of us really stumbles.”


Indian Creek 60, Leland-Earlville 43


By Jon Styf - DeKalb Daily Chronicle


Blake Mitchell’s injured wrist cost him nearly a month of this season.


But, in a 60-43 Little Ten Tournament semifinal win over Leland-Earlville on Thursday night, the Indian Creek junior guard’s ailment looked to be a thing of the past.


He played solid defense, he scored 10 points and he went aggressively to the glass and grabbed nine rebounds to help the Timberwolves (14-7) set up a 5 p.m. consolation final matchup with Hinckley-Big Rock tonight at Somonauk.


“It’s still not good, I have to wrap it up every game, and I’ve still struggled a little bit shooting,” Mitchell said.


“It’s great to have him back, because he plays the point guard a little big and makes things happen,” Indian Creek coach Joe Piekarz said.


The shooting, however, was taken care of once again by Indian Creek teammate Matt Davis, who finished with a game-high 20 points. He made four three-pointers and helped the Timberwolves go on a 14-2 run late in the second quarter and early in the third quarter to pull away from Leland-Earlville.  Cris Torman led Panthers with 13 points


“The second half we came out and got a bunch of steals and played good defense,” Mitchell said. “We just wanted to play hard and get back to Somonauk.”


The Timberwolves caused 12 first-half turnovers and were able to withstand an early Leland-Earlville surge to make amends for a tough two-points loss to LaMoille on Monday night in the tournament opener.


“I thought we were able to rebound the ball real well,” Piekarz said. “Coming in here, you never know how you are going to react to a disappointing loss. I thought they stepped up and played a really good game tonight.”


Indian Creek’s leading scorer, Nathan Peterson, saw limited action with an injured back. But he should be ready for today’s matchup with H-BR.


“He’ll be full strength tomorrow,” Piekarz said.




Last-second gasp lifts Newark past Serena


Newark 48, Serena 46


By Bill Lidinsky - Ottawa Times


The first semifinal matchup of the Little Ten Conference Boys tournament Thursday evening was every bit of what fans have come to expect in terms of excitement, emotion, and raw determination exhibited by two fine combatants.


As the event celebrates its 90-year anniversary this season, none could argue that both Newark and Serena produced one of the finest overall contests in LTC history. The game kept all in attendance guessing as to who the winner would be until the final buzzer.


In the end, Newark sophomore standout Kyle Anderson would serve as the hero for his team as he calmly nailed a 15-foot jumper from the right wing with two seconds left to go in the ballgame to ice a 48-46 victory for the No. 1 seeded Norsemen.


Newark (16-4) now advanced to the LTC tournament championship game tonight at 8 p.m. against No. 2 seeded Somonauk. The Bobcats disposed of six-seeded LaMoille 72-57 in the later semifinal.


Anderson’s heroics came after Serena junior Brady Johnson put up a runner in the lane with 11 seconds to go to tie the contest at 46 apiece. Anderson took the inbounds pass and went the length of the court before pulling up with the game winner to give Newark the thrilling victory.


"I was thinking I had to just get up court as quick as I could in order to get up the best shot I could," Anderson said. "It was one of those key shots. Luckily, it went in and we won the game. It feels real good and now we’re in a position to win the tournament."


"The Anderson kid made a tough shot. It was contested all the way by Blake (Chapman). But I’m really happy with our effort tonight," said Serena head basketball coach Jonathan Immel. "I didn’t have a time out left after Brady (Johnson) tied it up, so we were just hoping for overtime after our score late. Credit Newark. They made the key shot at the end and it just went in."


"With eleven seconds left after Brady’s bucket, I wasn’t going to call a time out because I knew Serena didn’t have any left to call of their own. I didn’t want them to be able to set up in any press defense in order to defend us," said Newark head basketball coach Rick Tollefson. "Kyle did a nice job getting the ball down the court to the wing and hit a nice pull up jumper to win the game. I don’t know why we couldn’t have hit more of those shots earlier in the game, but credit Serena for giving us a very tough challenge."


The fifth-seeded Huskers seemed more than up to the challenge, grabbing a 14-13 lead after one quarter with six players contributing to a well-balanced attack.


The Norsemen then went on a 10-2 run during the first four and a half minutes of the second period to post a 23-16 advantage on Anderson’s 3-pointer at 3:30 of the stanza. ButSerena patiently countered with a 6-0 rally, senior Darin Coyer netting four of those points to leave then down just 23-22.


After the buzzer, Tollefson was whistled for a technical foul,Chapman hit one of two technical foul free throws and Johnson buried a three pointer ten seconds into the final two quarters to give the Huskers a 26-23 lead.


The Huskers would take a 39-36 lead into the final period before the Norsemen posted the first six points to go up 42-39. Newark would never relinquish the lead from there, owning a 46-44 advantage with 4:10 to play.From there, both teams went into a scoring lull before Johnson’s tying shot and Anderson’s game winner.


Ultimately, Anderson and Johnson led all scorers with 15 points each. Avery was next with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Chapman added 13 tallies for the Huskers.


Bobcats shoot way into championship contest


Somonauk 72, LaMoille 57


By Andy Tavegia - Ottawa Times


Simple first-grade math tells you that a 3-pointer is worth more than a free throw. So it didn't take a genius to figure out how Somonauk beat LaMoille-Ohio Thursday night.


LaMoille-Ohio had an overwhelming advantage in free throws, but it wasn't enough to better an outstanding 3-point shooting night from the Bobcats. Second-seeded Somonauk drained 9-of-14 from behind the arc and 30-of-55 overall on its way to a 72-57 win over sixth-seeded LaMoille-Ohio in the semifinals of the Little Ten Conference Tournament.


The win lifts the Bobcats into the championship game for the fifth time in the last seven years, including the last three. With another shooting night like Thursday, the Bobcats, now 14-8 with a five-game winning streak, will be tough to stop.


"They shot so well," said LaMoille-Ohio coach Terry Nelson. "If they've shot better than that all year I'd be extremely surprised."


Even better for Somonauk, it shared the wealth with three players in double figures and two others on the cusp. Brock Kartheiser had another terrific game, tallying 14 points. Shayne Peterson also had 14 points and six rebounds while Brad Baker had 11 points, including a trio of 3-pointers.


The most amazing aspect may have been the fact that the Bobcats played the entire night in serious foul trouble. Somonauk had 28 fouls compared to 12 for LaMoille-Ohio (10-11). Starting big man Andrew Fischer picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter and spent most of the first half on the bench. Jeremy Schmitt, an integral part to the team's success, and David Baumann also had two early fouls.


That led to a 40-8 edge in free throws for LaMoille-Ohio. The Lions did struggle from the charity stripe however, hitting just 22 of those 40. Somonauk was 3-for-8.


However, early fouls didn't seem to bother SHS as it hit seven of its first eight shots in the first period to take a commanding 18-6 lead with 1 minute, 51 seconds left in the period.


"We've had trouble with first quarters all year," said Somonauk coach Ron Hunt. "It's been our worst quarter for a long time. But we were great tonight, and it wasn't just one guy. We made shots and played some defense when we were not fouling. That was the thing. We were committing a lot of fouls."


The Lions used those to try and inch back into the game. Jesse Monroe and Luke DeLong combined to go 6-for-6 from the line in the first 2:05 of the second period. Then a 3-pointer from Nick Czajka cut the lead to just 24-19.


That was as close as LaMoille-Ohio would get. With Fischer on the bench, Nick Eichas stepped in and played a vital role inside. He grabbed two big rebounds toward the end of the quarter and had two points of his own during a six-point run that pushed the lead back into double digits at 32-21 with 40.6 seconds left in the half.


LaMoille-Ohio hit the final shot of the half to make it a nine-point game (32-23) but that's as close as it would get the rest of the night.


Eichas had eight points and eight rebounds in the game. Fischer had eight points in the second half as well for the Bobcats, who outrebounded the Lions 35-23 despite the early foul trouble.


"They played like we usually play,"Nelson said. "We usually shoot the ball real well, but we didn't tonight. Ithink the main thing that upsets me is that we got outrebounded like we did. We were terrible on the boards tonight."


LaMoille-Ohio's Monroe combination of Jesse Monroe and Matt Monroe combined for 44 points and 34 of their team's 40 free throws. Jesse Monroe had a game-high 28 points while going 13-for-19 from the line. Matt Monroe had 16 points and nine rebounds.


Somonauk now will face a familiar face in Newark. The two teams met last Friday in Somonauk with the Bobcats claiming a narrow 59-55 win.


"It was a close game last week,"Hunt said. "They're a great shooting team. They can go inside-outside with Eisnaugle and they have terrific shooters. There's John Avery and you really have to respect him. (Kyle) Anderson is a terrific player. They are terrific offensively and defensively they've been very good."


LAMOILLE-OHIO (57) — J. Monroe 7-15 13-19 28, DeLong 2-11 2-2 7, Taylor 0-0 0-0 0, Leija 0-1 0-0 0, Schwingle 0-0 0-2 0, Callison 0-0 0-0 0, Czajka 1-2 0-0 3, Tate 0-1 0-0 0, M. Monroe 5-7 6-15 16, Swanson 1-2 0-0 2, Suplee 0-5 1-2 1, O'Brien 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-44 22-40 57.


SOMONAUK (72) — Peritore 0-0 0-0 0, Gottlieb 2-4 0-0 5, Schmitt 2-3 0-0 5, Kartheiser 5-8 2-2 14, Hanson 0-0 0-0 0, Green 2-7 1-2 5, Peterson 6-9 0-0 14, Fischer 4-5 0-0 8, Baker 4-6 0-0 11, Baumann 0-5 0-0 0, Adkins 0-0 0-0 0, Alvarez 0-0 0-2 0, Eichas 4-7 0-0 8, McQuate 1-1 0-2 2. Totals 30-55 3-8 72.


LaMoille (10-11)    10  13  15  19 — 57

Somonauk (14-8)  20  12  21  19 — 72


3-point goals — LaMoille 3-20 (Czajka 1-2, J. Monroe 1-3, DeLong 1-10, Tate 0-1, Leija 0-1, Suplee 0-3); Somonauk 9-14 (Baker 3-5, Kartheiser 2-3, Peterson 2-3, Schmitt 1-1, Gottlieb 1-2). Rebounds — LaMoille 23 (M. Monroe 9); Somonauk 35 (McQuate 8). Steals — LaMoille 8 (J. Monroe 2, Swanson 2); Somonauk 8 (Schmitt 2, Kartheiser 2, Peterson 2). Blocks — LaMoille 2 (J. Monroe, Schwingle); Somonauk 0. Turnovers — LaMoille 14; Somonauk 17. Total fouls (fouled out) — LaMoille 12 (J. Monroe); Somonauk 28 (Eichas, Schmitt). Technical foul — Eichas.




Defensive switch leads H-BR to win


Hinckley-Big Rock 56, Indian Creek 48


By Jon Styf - DeKalb Daily Chronicles


Hinckley-Big Rock needed a change.


The Royals were watching Indian Creek run away from them in the third quarter of Friday night’s Little Ten Conference Tournament consolation final, so coach Bill Sambrookes put in Travis Chase.


Chase then sat in the middle as the Royals switched to a 2-3 zone defense designed to limit Indian Creek’s interior offense.


Little did Sambrookes know that one switch would make such a huge difference. The Royals clamped down on defense, starting making their shots and forced Indian Creek to settle for outside looks as they battled back for a 56-48 win over the Timberwolves at Somonauk.


“We’ve been getting beat a lot in the fourth quarter this season and I think we just kept fighting,” H-BR junior guard Brian Michaels said. “Offensively we just took our time and we fought our way back on defense.”


The Royals (14-9) came back from trailing 41-29 midway through the third quarter to score 27 of the game’s final 34 points and beat Indian Creek (14-8), a team they will face again in two weeks in the Little Ten regular season finale.


“We’ve lost a lot of games like that this season,” Indian Creek coach Joe Piekarz said. “We need someone to step up and take a game like that. No one’s going to give it to you.


“When you have a team on the ropes like that, you have to keep the pressure on.”


Down the stretch, everything seemed to go right for the Royals. Michaels, who had missed his first 10 shots, made his final shot and then five of his six free throws to help put the game away.


Colton Craig came in and hit a pair of key three-pointers in an increased role. Chase used his height and jumping ability to limit Indian Creek’s inside looks and Ryan Korth scored his first career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Ryan Salazar led the Royals with 15 points and eight rebounds.


“I thought Ryan Korth had one of his best overall games for our team,” Sambrookes said. “He came out with confidence and had a really good game.


“But it was a great team win, it wasn’t just one guy.”


Indian Creek, on the other hand, couldn’t manage much offense after taking the 12-point lead.


Guard Matt Davis, who finished with 16 points, saw his shots stop falling and Nathan Peterson, who scored 15 points, only made one field goal and stopped seeing the ball much inside after intermission.


“We were really doing a good job getting the ball inside and then we shot a couple of threes there and we got completely off of our game,” Piekarz said. “They made the comeback then.”


H-BR (57) - Michaels 1 5-6 7, Salazar 6 1-2 15, Burks 2 3-4 7, Korth 7 0-1 14, Michael 3 0-0 6, Hemesath 0 1-2 1, Craig 2 1-2 7, Chase 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 8-9 64.


Indian Creek (48) - Foster 1 2-2 5, Davis 6 3-7 16, Peterson 5 5-8 15, Mitchell 3 0-0 7, Sanderson 0 0-0 0, Bend 1 1-1 3, Wong 1 0-0 2, Wassmann 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 9-14 60


HBR     16    8    16    17    -    57

IC         9    20    12    7    -    48

Three-point goals – Indian Creek 3 (Davis, Foster, Mitchell), H-BR 4 (Salazar 2, Craig 2). Total Fouls – Indian Creek 13, H-BR 11. Fouled Out – None


Third-place game


LaMoille-Ohio 57, Serena 49


In the third-place game, the Huskers (8-13) trailed 11-9 after one period before taking a 25-22 lead into halftime. However, LaMoille-Ohio (11-11) used 20 points in the third period to take a 42-36 lead into the fourth quarter.


The Lions used free throws in the fourth quarter to put the game away. LaMoille-Ohio was 7-for-9 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.


One day after shooting 40 free-throw attempts against Somonauk, LaMoille-Ohio was 15-for-24 against the Huskers. Serena, meanwhile, was 4-for-6.


Brady Johnson did have a game-high 25 points for Serena. Blake Chapman scored nine points. Jesse Monroe scored 23 points for the Lions.


Title Game


Bobcats rule the Little Ten once again


Somonauk 61, Newark 52


By Brian Hoxsey - Ottawa Times


In championship games, it is not uncommon for the momentum to switch sides numerous times during the high pressure-packed action. However, in this year's 90th edition of the Little Ten Conference Tournament title game it was one team that grabbed it early and refused let go.


Second-seeded Somonauk trailed top seed Newark by nine early in the second period, but found what it needed to kick start its engine. Back-to-back treys from junior Brad Baker started the Bobcats on a back-breaking 18-0 run during an almost seven-minute span. That decisive run helped the tournament hosts capture their second straight LTC Tournament championship with a 61-52 triumph in front of their home crowd.


Senior Shayne Peterson led the Bobcats with a game-high 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Andrew Fischer added 12 points and seven caroms, while Baker had nine on a trio of triples. The Norsemen were paced by sophomore John Avery with 15 markers and seven boards. Matt Eisnaugle had 10 points, and Kyle Anderson and Drew Tollefson nine each.


At the start of the contest, NHS was the aggressor and led 10-4 after a Nick Slack jumper and a old-fashioned three-point play by Avery. Somonauk's Jeremy Schmitt hit a layup at the first quarter horn to cut the NHS advantage to 13-8.


Newark held a 16-8 rebound edge in the opening eight minutes, and the teams combined for a 9-for-33 shooting clip.


"We talked that we need to rebound and play better off the ball defense," said Bobcat coach Ron Hunt. On the ball defense we wanted to turn them and really bug them getting down the floor, but we didn't want to get to the point where we were chasing them. We just tried to put on them as much pressure as we could."


Newark (16-5) led 19-10 after Anderson found Tollefson for a layup at the 5:24 mark of the second frame, but a minute later Baker's long three found the bottom of the net and set in motion the fateful streak.


Somonauk led 23-19 at halftime and by nine early in the third. Newark scored the next six points, four by Avery, to make it 28-25. The clubs traded hoops the rest of the quarter as Bobcats led 40-31 heading to the fourth.


"It is one thing to say be patient, but when they came at us in the fourth quarter with that trap you just have to play basketball then," Hunt said. "There isn't much I can say but get the ball in the middle and reverse it, they did that. It's nice to have a kid like Shayne Peterson, when you put the ball in his hands because he is so quick and low to the ground. You can't get the ball out of his hands."


In the fourth, with now both teams putting on full-court pressure, the Norsemen tried to claw back in the game as they cut the disadvantage to four (40-36) early, but the Bobcats quickly pushed the lead back to 10 after a reverse layup by Fischer. NHS was now forced to foul and the Bobcats made 6-of-8 in the final two minutes to wrap up the victory.


"I thought our effort the whole game was pretty decent," said Newark coach Rick Tollefson. "Somonauk's defense, I give them credit, but also it was our decision making, our quick shooting and our unwillingness to take the ball to the hole.(The ball) is not a time bomb, if you hold it more than three seconds, it won't blow up They took us completely out our game."


SOMONAUK (61) — Schmitt 2-4 2-4 6, Peterson 5-11 7-8 18, Fischer 5-8 2-2 12, Baker 3-11 0-0 9, Eichas 1-3 0-0 2, Kartheiser 4-6 0-0 8, Baumann 0-1 0-2 0, Green 2-4 2-2 6, McQuate 0-0 0-0 0, Hanson 0-0 0-0 0, Alvarez 0-0 0-0 0, Adkins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-48 13-18 61.


NEWARK (52) — Ky. Anderson 3-18 0-0 9, Tollefson 4-10 0-0 9, Avery 6-17 3-3 15, Slack 3-8 1-2 8, Eisnaugle 5-7 0-0 10, McGrath 0-0 1-2 1, Thanepohn 0-0 0-0 0, Schultz 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-50 5-7 52.


Somonauk (15-8)   8  15  17  21 — 61

Newark (16-5)      13   6  12  21 — 52


3-point goals — Somonauk 4-10 (Peterson 1-1, Baker 3-9); Newark 5-19 (Ky. Anderson 3-11, Tollefson 1-4, Avery 0-2, Slack 1-2). Rebounds — Somonauk 36 (Peterson 8); Newark 27 (Avery 7). Turnovers — Somonauk 14, Newark 8. Total fouls (fouled out) - Somonauk 7 (none); Newark 18 (Avery). Technical fouls — Eichas, Slack.


FINAL 2009 Little Ten Conference Standings
                          W   L
Hinckley-Big Rock         7   1
Somonauk                  6   2
Newark                    6   2
Indian Creek              5   3
LaMoille                  4   4
Serena                    3   5
Leland-Earlville          3   5
Paw Paw                   1   7
Kirkland Hiawatha         1   7

LTC 2008-2009 All-Conference Team


Brothers Kyle Anderson and Kurt Anderson earned nods for the Norsemen. Kyle, a unanimous selection, averaged 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game for the 1A sectional champs. It was the sophomore's second unanimous selection.

Kurt Anderson proved to be a terrific leader throughout the season for Newark. He averaged 8.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. He also made a significant difference upon his return in late February from an injury and led the Norsemen to the Stillman Valley Supersectional.

For Somonauk, senior Shayne Peterson earned a unanimous selection. He averaged 15.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.8 assists per game for the Bobcats. Teammate Andrew Fischer, a junior, averaged 12.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game for Somonauk as the teams top rebounder and inside scorer. He also shot 52 percent from the field.

Conference regular season champion Hinckley-Big Rock also had two selections. Ryan Salazar was a unanimous choice after averaging 14.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.5 steals per game. Brian Michaels also earned a selection after leading the Royals in scoring with 18.1 points per game. He also was a 78-percent free-throw shooter.

Elsewhere, Serena's Most Valuable Player Blake Chapman was a unanimous selection. The senior floor general averaged 11.1 points, 3.6 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game for the Huskers.  He was Serena’s defensive player award winner, he had 60 steals on the season.

Leland-Earlville's Luke Anderson earned a nod, adding to his soccer all-conference award. As a senior, Anderson averaged 10.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 3.3 steals per game for the Panthers.

LaMoille-Ohio senior Jesse Monroe was a unanimous selection after leading the conference with 21.4 points per game, in addition to 5.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 3.4 steals per game. Indian Creek senior Nathan Peterson rounded out the 10-man team after averaging 11.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

Paw Paw and Kirkland Hiawatha did not have any selections on the team.



Newark sophomore shooting guard Kyle Anderson, along his older brother, senior point guard Kurt Anderson were recognized by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association as a part of its Class 1A/2A all-state team, both honorable mention.

Leland-Earlville senior guard Luke Anderson received honorable mention status.