'Bago slams door on Titan state run


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Posted Online: March 06, 2013, 10:57 pm
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By Marc Nesseler, nesseler@qconline.com
DeKALB – That door to the boys' basketball State Finals got rapped pretty hard by the Monmouth-Roseville Titans this year.

They just can't barge through it. At least not yet.

Class 2A's No. 2-ranked and undefeated Winnebago Indians certainly heard the pounding, with the Titans within five at the start of the fourth quarter of Wednesday night's super-sectional at Northern Illinois University's Convocation Center. But that is when the 32-0 Indians slammed it shut and punched their ticket to Friday's state semifinals with a 74-53 victory.

"The door is getting wider to Peoria," site of the State Finals, said M-R coach Chuck Grant, "and we're going to break that thing down next year."

With their three leading scorers being juniors, the Titans end their season ranked No. 7 in 2A with a 26-5 record.

"Last year's Sweet 16 nice and this year's Elite Eight was even better," said senior guard Connor Gillen. "I'm confident they'll be back next year."

Maybe if that door hadn't been three hours away and on a weeknight, the Titans might have felt on a more level playing field. The Convo Center was at least 80 percent 'Bago backed.

"We can't use any of that as an excuse," said Grant. "We took a bus to Quincy High. Can we beat them in the right situation? Sure. But they were certainly the better team tonight."

But for two convincing 'Bago runs, the teams were even. The difference-makers, though, were a 17-8 stretch built by five straight 3-pointers in the third quarter when M-R was down by six. The other an 11-0 one at the start of the fourth when the Titans were trailing by five.

"The second one was the one that hurt the most, but both were tough to come back from, obviously," said Grant. "We had to fight to get there and then we're down double digits and it's a tough run."

M-R went from down 9 to within four at halftime (26-22) when the first Indian onslaught came. Then, after cutting a 15-point deficit to just five after a Trayvon Smith basket to open the final quarter, 'Bago went on a tear that put away the game.

The biggest what-if, though, for the Titans was their first-half shooting. Of their nine baskets, five came on putbacks, three on layups and the other on a lane drive. Outside of those, they were 0-for-20 on jumpers.

"I felt it was important for us to be in the lead at halftime," said Grant. "We had the opportunity. I wanted to put some doubt in the back of Winnebago's mind by halftime and we just couldn't put it there."

The Indians proved to be just too potent. If it wasn't the quickness of Jacoby Posley (15 points, four steals), it was the shooting of Matt Reinke (20 points, three 3s) or the overall handiness of reserve Ryan Swigart (16 points, nine rebounds).

Still, the Titans had many of their own moments. Junior guard Martel Hunter led M-R with 19 points on 9-of-15 shooting, adding six rebounds. Smith finished with a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds, and reserve Dillon Frieden nearly did as well with 10 points and nine boards.

"The heart was there," said Grant. "This is the first trip to the Elite Eight as Monmouth-Roseville (in the eighth year of the consolidation). "I felt confident we could come out and win it."

With No. 1 Harrisburg in the opposite semifinal, No. 2 Winnebago will play the 6:30 p.m. semi on Friday in Peoria as the door remains open for the perfect season.




DeKalb Super-Sectional
Winnebago 74, Monmouth-Roseville 53
MONMOUTH-ROSEVILLE (26-5)
C. Gillen 3-7 0-2 3 1 7, Hunter 9-15 1-4 2 6 19, Hottle 0-4 0-0 1 5 0, Merritt 0-7 0-2 2 3 0, Smith 4-10 2-2 4 11 10, Colclasure 2-4 0-0 2 0 4, Frieden 4-8 1-2 4 9 10, Wollbrink 0-0 0-0 0 0 0, Kelley 0-0 1-2 0 1 1, S. Gillen 0-0 0-0 0 0 0, Troyer 0-0 0-0 0 0 0. Totals 22-56 7-16 19 38 53.
WINNEBAGO (32-0)
Reinke 8-17 1-2 0 7 20, Polkowski 2-5 2-3 3 4 6, Posley 4-12 5-9 3 4 15, Menke 3-6 0-0 3 5 8, Campbell 0-0 0-0 2 0 0, Shumate 0-4 0-0 0 1 0, Swigart 4-10 6-8 1 9 16, Morrissey 0-6 6-6 0 5 6, Scott 0-1 1-2 0 2 1, Langholf 0-1 0-0 0 0 0, Thoren 0-0 0-0 0 0 0, Traum 0-0 0-0 0 0 0, Jacobs 0-0 0-0 0 0 0, Wilson 1-10-0 0 1 2. Totals 22-63 21-30 13 39 74.
Mon-Rose  10  12  22  9—53
Winnebago  10  16 25  23—74
3s: M-R 2-9 (C. Gillen 1-2, Hunter 0-1, Merritt 0-2, Frieden 1-2, Colclasure 0-2), Winnebago 9-33 (Reinke 3-9, Polkowski 0-1, Posley 2-8, Menke 2-4, Shumate 0-3, Swigart 2-4, Morrissey 0-4). Assists: M-R 6 (C. Gillen 2, Hunter 2), Winnebago 14 (Menke 5). Steals: M-R 5, Winnebago 14 (Posley 4). Blocks: M-R 1 (Smith), Winnebago 1 (Posley). Turnovers: M-R 18, Winnebago 9.














 



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