Free throws help Saxons stun Wildkits
Updated: March 23, 2011 4:18PM
The talk in Evanston has been about the No. 2-seeded Wildkits'
potential regional final against rival New Trier.
But No. 15 seed Schaumburg killed that buzz with a 58-51 upset over Evanston in Tuesday night's Class 4A Evanston Regional semifinal.
The Saxons (16-11) had a 14-point third-quarter lead cut three with two minutes left in the frame. But Schaumburg quickly restored its double-digit advantage with an 11-0 run and hit 11-of-14 free throws in the fourth to preserve the win.
Schaumburg advanced to Friday's regional final where it will meet the winner of Wednesday night's game between seventh-seeded New Trier and 10th-seeded Foreman.
Senior guard Javon McDonald led Schaumburg with 15 points, while sophomores Kyle Bolger and Jimmy Lundquist scored 13 points apiece.
"We have a lot of confidence as a team. We just come out and play hard every game, just keep progressing every game, getting better every practice, every game," Bolger said.
Schaumburg's loaded nonconference schedule has included the likes of Simeon, St. Joseph, Proviso East, Curie Lockport, Downers Grove South and Bloomington. Plus, the team has played six overtime games.
Saxons coach Matt Walsh said those experiences have been invaluable and likely helped his team maintain its composure during Evanston's third-quarter run.
"We know (Evanston) is a great team and that other teams are going to make runs. But we believe it's been a learning process throughout the season and we've been in those situations before," he said. "When that happened, I felt we came together, stressed the fundaments and continued to play the way we play. We got some stops, some rebounds and executed on offense."
Evanston (18-11) was led by seniors Garrett Jones (17 points) and James Farr (16 points, 8 rebounds). However, the dynamic duo combined for just seven first-half points as Schaumburg built a 24-17 halftime lead.
Wildkits head coach Mike Ellis said he did not feel his team had overlooked the Saxons.
"I think you have to give Schaumburg credit. I never heard one of our kids mention New Trier all week long," he said. "I just think (the problem) was in the game. Schaumburg's guard play was the difference. They got to the free-throw line 21 times, hurt us on backdoors and slip screens. We needed to do a better job getting the ball down low and spreading the floor."
Schaumburg led 11-9 after one quarter. After the break, the Saxons scored seven straight points to build a 31-17 advantage.
The 6-foot-8 Farr then came alive, scoring eight points during a 10-1 Evanston run, as the Wildkits got to within 32-29 with 2:30 remaining in the third.
But Schaumburg quickly regained the momentum with big baskets by McDonald, senior Kurt Kempema and junior Christian Spandiary (9 points). Spandiary's hoop with 4:59 remaining in the fourth put the visitors up 45-30.
In the final minute, two straight Jones baskets got the Wildkits to within eight. But there would be no late rally.