Boys Basketball: Ridgewood topples Vernon Hills for regional titleRidgewood senior Andy Mazurczak looks to pass the ball during a regional title basketball game against Vernon Hills at Ridgewood High School in Norridge on Friday, March 2, 2012. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 2, 2012 11:14PM
Ridgewood was able to hold off Vernon Hills’ third quarter push to win its second consecutive regional championship with a 66-56 victory in the Class 3A Ridgewood Regional Final Friday night in Norridge.
Senior Andy Mazurczak led all scorers with 22 points as he salted away the win for the Rebels going 7 of 8 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. He also hit three big free throws at the end the third quarter to quell the Cougars’ momentum.
“I saw one guy jump, and I pump faked, and then I put up the shot, and unfortunately for them, I got lucky,” Mazurczak said about being fouled on the three-pointer at the third quarter buzzer. “They were big free throws that put us up by seven. We weren’t as good defensively tonight, and we have to tighten it up here in the playoffs.”
Ridgewood (21-7) took the lead for good late in the first quarter when senior Pete Mroz converted a three-point play with 53.5 seconds remaining. He would finish with 14 points including three shots form three-point range. Juniors Igor Cirkovic and Adam Krozel each contributed eight.
“We just tried to grind it out,” said Ridgewood head coach Chris Mroz. “We didn’t play our best, and I give credit to Vernon Hills. Andy with three fouls isn’t a good thing, but he was under control, and the team kept their composure.”
Vernon Hills (16-13) scored six straight points in the third quarter to cut the Ridgewood lead to four prior to the ill-fated foul at the buzzer. Three Cougars finished in double figures led by senior Darren Hoveydai’s 16 points. Junior Trenton Fulton scored 12 with senior MJ Crowley scoring nine of his 11 on a trio of threes in the first quarter. Free throws stalled the Vernon Hills comeback as they converted just 16-of-26 while Ridgewood made 14-of-17.
“We hung around, but we couldn’t get over the hump,” said Vernon Hills head coach Matt McCarty. “Every time we’d get on the cusp we’d miss a free throw or an easy basket. I liked the way the kids fought. We’ve been in the regional championship game four of the last five years, and we’ll get over that hump.”