All season long Dan Filippone has talked to his Antioch basketball teammates about having an "Us against the world" mentality.
He even tweeted it out the rallying cry before Tuesday night's Class 3A Antioch sectional semifinal against North Chicago. The confident Sequoits were focused on stunning the world -- or at least the state.
And it looked realistic after they trailed by just two points at halftime. But the top-seeded Warhawks pulled away to capture an 81-59 win, ending the No. 12 seed's "Cinderella" run.
"I don't think anybody picked us to go this far," Filippone said. "Coach has been talking about 'legacy,' and I think these seniors really left a lasting impression, especially on me and the underclassmen. We just want to continue this (next year) and go even farther."
Filippone will try to lead the way. The sophomore scored 20 points to pace Antioch (10-18), which was seeking its fourth postseason win after capturing the Carmel regional.
"It doesn't matter what we do in the regular season," Antioch forward Reece Eldridge said after scoring 8 points and grabbing 5 rebounds in his final high school game. "It only matters what happens come March."
North Chicago, which beat Antioch 76-72 and 82-50 in Northern Lake County Conference play, improved to 20-8 and advanced to Friday's 7 p.m. final against the winner of Wednesday night's game between No. 3 St. Viator and No. 11 Foreman.
Terrell Grier had 20 points and 12 rebounds for North Chicago, which went into halftime up only 36-34 after Pierce Coleman drained a 3-pointer. Coleman (17 points, 8 rebounds) and Simeon Henton (15 points, 6 boards) also scored in double figures for the Warhawks.
"We started off slow," North Chicago coach Gerald Coleman said. "I told the guys, 'Just keep playing defense. Defense creates offense and our game eventually will come.' And it started coming."
North Chicago focused in the second half on getting the ball more to Grier, and the 6-foot-4 senior guard responded. He knocked down all 4 of his shots, including a putback and turnaround jumper, and scored 9 points in the third in helping the Warhawks outscore the Sequoits 26-13 to go up 62-47.
Antioch made just 6 of 16 shots in the third and also committed 5 of its 18 turnovers. Filippone accounted for 9 of the Sequoits' points in the quarter.
"They had it in their head that they weren't going to let us score, and it seemed to work for them," Eldridge said. "They played with a lot more intensity, and I think they really got under our skin."
Henton, who made all 3 of his shots in the third, opened the fourth with a breakaway dunk, and the lead continued to swell.
"Once we get (Grier and Henton) going, then the rest of them just piggyback on," Gerald Coleman said. "It worked out pretty well in the second half."
North Chicago dominated on the boards, especially at the offensive end, where the Warhawks grabbed 21 rebounds. For the game, they outrebounded the Sequoits 42-26.
"We talked about tagging up out of our zone to go find a body, and we talked about accountability when we go man," Antioch coach Jim White said. "But we didn't have an answer for either of them. We use our hands a lot. We got to use our butt a little better and drive them out. Too many times we were staring up there, and it looks like a volleyball match, and we're not going to win that."
Antioch graduates Eldridge, Ben Gutke (8 points, 7 rebounds), Logan Weber (5 points), Michael Kawell (9 points, two 3-pointers, all in the second quarter) and Marc Huston.
At halftime, the Sequoits hadn't lost any of their confidence.
"That third quarter has been ours this season," White said. "We've won a lot of them. We've come out strong. Unfortunately tonight, one of the big things on our board (in the locker room) is we need to be able to set up our defense, and we were not able to do that near enough."