Christian Liberty boys basketball bowed out of the Class 1A postseason on Thursday, losing to Ida Crown 59-48 at Grace Gym in Arlington Heights in a regional semifinal matchup.
But the Chargers didn’t go down without a fight.
Trailing 40-23 going into the fourth quarter, Chargers coach Jed Bennett switched his offense to five guards and it began to pay off. Wes Swiderek, Sam Silva and Paul Weiss led a spirited comeback to close to 45-41 with 4:30 left, but the Chargers could get no closer.
“We had some good chances in the first three quarters but we couldn’t finish the plays,” said Bennett. “In the first quarter alone we missed four layups. We had our backs against the wall going into the fourth quarter, and we played well to get it close. When we had to foul, they made their free throws.”
The Aces (17-5) hit 11 of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter and 21 of 25 in the game.
Baskets by Kevin Bokor (15 points, 6 rebounds) and Elazar Kolom (17 points, 6 rebounds) scored back-to-back baskets to give Ida Crown some breathing room.
The Chargers’ Aaron Cunningham and Silva scored baskets sandwiched between free throws from Rami Pinchot (11 points) to make the score 50-45 with 1:10 left.
The Aces hit 9 of their next 10 free throws.
“Our guards played a key role in the third quarter,” said Bokor. “We might have let up a little. Sometimes we have a little trouble finishing off games. But we hit our free throws to hold them off.”
“I think our defense was a big factor in the third quarter when we outscored them 14-4,” said Ida Crown coach Sid Singer. “We didn’t let them get easy baskets on us. Bokor and Kolom are our two leading scorers. They both had some good looks. We felt Bokor could work inside for us, and Kolom is a good shooter.”
Each player had 6 points in the third quarter. Kolom had three 3-pointers.
The Chargers finished the season 11-16 and on this night were without Nick Salomonson, who was on a church retreat.
Swiderek finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds, and Ben Kemper had 9 points. Silva scored all of his 8 in the fourth quarter, and Weiss finished with 6 points after fouling out with 4:55 to play.