Maine West's boys basketball team bowed out of the Class 4A regional semifinals after falling to sixth-seeded Waukegan 63-38 Tuesday night in Des Plaines.
While the loss for the No. 11 Warriors (17-11) may have left a bad taste, things look bright in Maine West's future.
"I want this to be a group to say this was the group of players who started the turnaround for us," said Maine West coach Tom Prokopij. "I feel proud of what they have done.
"When I looked at the schedule, I thought 17 wins could be realistic, and to be over .500 would be good. Seventeen wins is a good number and we competed for the Central Suburban North title."
The Warriors had their hands full with Waukegan, (19-8) which has won 11 of its last 13 games.
Waukegan placed four players in double figures, led by senior Carson Newsome. The Wisconsin-Milwaukee recruit scored 16 points, including five slam dunks, and had 6 assists.
Bryan Brown added 15 points and 9 rebounds. Ja'Dyn Brown scored 13 points and 6 boards and DeShawn Davidson notched 12 points.
Maine West's only lead was at 3-2 following junior Julian Dones' 3-point basket with 7:05 left in the first quarter.
Waukegan used the first quarter to build a 20-9 lead.
Newsome scored 8 points, which included two dunks and two offensive rebound baskets in the quarter and Ja'Dyn Brown added 9 points.
The Bulldogs kept pulling away and led 34-18 at halftime.
Following a Newsome dunk, Waukegan led 43-21 with 4:47 left in the third quarter.
"We wanted to come out and be aggressive from the start," said Bulldogs coach Ron Ashlaw. "During practice the last week we wanted to make that a priority. We have seen Maine West play and they always seem to be aggressive and play with energy. Their coach is getting them prepared to play the way he wants them to be."
Senior Randy Kent led the Warriors with 13 points and 6 rebounds while Darrington Bates, one of the returning juniors, scored 8 points.
"The season was better than I thought it would be," Kent said. "We got more wins than any of the teams over the last three years. Next season a lot of these players will have the experience and know what it takes to be a winner. Tonight their ball pressure got to us and got us out of what we wanted to do."
Matt Kentgen, Stefan Balaban, Milos Dugalic, Dones, Bates and Faraz Bashir will be the core group of players that the Warriors will hope to continue their newfound winning ways.