One more time for the 2021-2022 season! The boys basketball regular season has come to a close and it was actually a pretty fun week to close it out.
While only one title had to be decided and that NECC race was essentially academic, we didn’t see teams phone in the last week of games that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Everybody went hard in a lot of fun cross-conference matchups like Norwell/Homestead, Leo/Woodlan, Eastside/North Side and so many more.
So here are a couple of nuggets to talk about before we start prepping for Sectionals to start Tuesday.
WHAT A FRIDAY NIGHT
Three buzzer beaters, overtimes, arguably the two best teams in the area playing, a conference title clinched.
That was a wild last night of the boys basketball regular season.
At Fremont, the Eagles topped Bethany Christian despite 24 points from Bethany’s Beck Willems. In the end, it was an Ethan Bontrager three pointer at the buzzer that decided the game. Bontrager is a dead eye shooter and is always at his best when he just goes to work and has ice in his veins. Friday was the best case in point for that.
Bellmont also got the buzzer beating nod on Friday night as Jack Scheumann hit a three at the buzzer to sink ACAC champion Jay County, 41-40.
Perhaps the best of Friday’s buzzer beaters came in a game where something similar happened last season. Woodlan led Leo for much of their game on Friday, but the Lions made it tight late. Smothering defense and double teams for Leo made it a tie game in the final 30 seconds. Joe Reidy drained the clock then made his way to the rim but got stopped. As Leo frantically tried to knock the ball away from under the basket, it ended up in the hands of Braden Smith, who stood on the Leo logo near midcourt and knocked down the three pointer to give Woodlan the win. It was the second straight season Leo lost to Woodlan on a buzzer beater.
While Reidy led the way for Woodlan with 16 points in the game, he also passed Warrior legend Lloy Ball for another program record. Reidy now has 150 career blocks to move to the top of that list for Woodlan. So even though he wasn’t the one hitting the buzzer beater this season, he was still out to make a noteworthy night on Friday.
As far as titles go, Eastside wrapped up their first outright NECC title since 1983 on Friday with a win over Churubusco. They are now a program best 23-1 and celebrated a lot on Friday. Not just with a NECC title, Gabe Trevino became Eastside’s all-time leading scorer Friday, passing Craig Lake for the honor that had sat for 38 years.
Snider and Homestead added to a big Friday night. The Spartans topped Norwell in a game of two of the area’s best and two conference champions. Snider scored five points in eight seconds at the end of their visit to Marion to force overtime, tied at 67. The Panthers ended up with an 80-79 victory behind 43 points from Karson Jenkins and 24 out of Aidan Lambert.
THE BEST OF BLACKHAWK
Blackhawk Christian ran through their last week of the season at a super high level. It started on Tuesday where they handled Leo fairly well, despite the Lions’ furious comeback late, partially led by a shooting performance from sophomore Jackson McGee. While McGee and Caedmon Bontrager ended up with 15 points each, the Braves had their number. Gage Sefton scored 27 points as they toppled one of the best teams in Class 3A and gave them huge momentum into the week and therefore into the postseason.
Perhaps more of a momentum boost was the destruction of Northrop on Thursday, with Blackhawk winning 80-45. That is an eye opening final when people wonder how well the Braves will compete this postseason. Northrop is a solid 4A squad that is a possible Sectional favorite and Blackhawk went to town behind 24 points from Jake Boyer. Jimmy Davidson nearly posted a triple double with 10 points, 16 rebounds and 9 assists.
Kudos to Northrop for taking the time to honor Braves coach Marc Davidson pregame. Davidson is one of the best human beings I have ever met and he deserves any and all praise.
On Friday, 21 points from Lewis Jones and 20 from Sefton pushed Blackhawk Christian by surging South Side. The Archers wouldn’t go away, leading after three before the Braves’ fourth quarter pushed them ahead thanks to nine points in the quarter from Sefton. The Braves ended the season with a 6-3 record versus the SAC and this week really reminded us just how powerful this team can be with some depth this postseason.
Jakar Williams of New Haven reached 1,000 points for his career this week, also moving to 7th on the all-time New Haven scoring list….Fletcher Loyer became the first player in Homestead history to surpass the 600 point scoring mark. in two different seasons….South Adams‘ Trey Schoch scored 41 points on Friday in a loss to Eastbrook….Leo sophomore Jackson McGee had two of his best games of his career this week, though in two losses. He scored 15 against Blackhawk Christian and was a main catalyst for Leo’s comeback attempt, while rescored a team best 23 points Friday in the loss to Woodlan.
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