They still shine, these legends of the fall. Even when playing basketball.
IC Catholic Prep's Luke Ricobene and Matt Sutton helped the Knights win a state football title as, respectively, quarterback and receiver. In Friday's Class 2A IC Catholic Prep boys basketball regional final Sutton delivered the pass on Ricobene's basket to beat Elmhurst rival Timothy Christian 53-52.
"You know, Luke's been getting me the ball for four years, so I said, why not give it to him once," Sutton quipped.
Trailing by a point and gaining possession with 33.8 seconds left to play No. 2 seed IC Catholic (21-7) worked the clock.
With about 15 seconds left the Knights missed a 10-foot baseline jumper. Ricobene appeared to tip the loose rebound to teammate Alex Meurer in the lane. Meurer quickly flipped to Sutton at the top of the key.
The 5-foot-9 senior guard took three dribbles into the lane, spied Ricobene at the low right block and sent him a bounce pass. Ricobene banked the short, contested shot off the backboard and in with 10 seconds left.
"It's a proud moment as a coach when you've got guys giving the ball up on the final play to get the best shot that they can," said Knights coach T.J. Tyrrell, whose first regional title since 2014 lands IC Catholic in a Tuesday Guerin sectional semifinal against Orr, a 69-61 winner over Uplift.
"We just had to battle. We knew it was going to be a tough game, we just had to gut it out," said Ricobene, who first returned to the basketball court Feb. 10 from a knee injury in the football state semifinals.
"(Football) takes off a lot of pressure, but it's a whole other game. I've been practicing with these guys for a couple months now and now I trust them. It's all them."
No. 5 seed Timothy Christian (17-11) did everything right positioning itself for a game winner, but senior Jonny Strube's strong drive for an 8-foot banker fell off the rim to a waiting Sutton.
"IC had one more basket than we did, that's the bottom line," said Timothy Christian coach Jack LeGrand. "We'd like to have three key possessions back. That's part of high school basketball."
In fact IC made one more free throw than the Trojans, 14 to 13, with each team making 18 field goals. Meurer led IC Catholic with 19 points and Amari Reed scored 10.
Brandon Orange scored 17 points and Strube 11 for the Trojans, who led 43-37 with 7:18 remaining in a game that featured 24 lead changes. Three-year starter Joey Davidson scored 9 points to finish with 1,031, ninth all-time at Timothy Christian.
"We were excited to come into the game," said Orange, a 6-6 junior. "It was definitely hard fought and unfortunately it didn't turn out how we wanted it to."