2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 2/16/2018 11:47 PM

Kentgen connects for Maine West

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By Greg Swiderski
Daily Herald Correspondent

Maine West's Matt Kentgen may have connected for the biggest basket for the Warriors in the past 20 years.

With 1.7 seconds left in the game, Kentgen took a pass from senior guard Julian Dones and sank a 3-point basket to give the Warriors a thrilling 50-47 win over visiting Glenbrook North in Des Plaines on Friday night.

The win clinched the Warriors' first outright Central Suburban North title since 1998.

"I was set up down low," said Kentgen. "When Glenbrook North's defense went to double-team Julian Dones, I popped out. He got me the ball and I let it fly. The rest is history."

Kentgen's shot was his only one of the night.

"He's done this for us several times, I think three or four times," said Maine West coach Tom Prokopij. "When he let it go, it looked good."

Had Dones not had his shot blocked to end the third quarter, the play might not have happened.

"I tried to force the shot with several defenders on me and it was blocked," said Dones who finished with 14 points. "At the end of the game I brought the ball down and they double-teamed me again. I saw Matt came out from underneath. I got him the ball and he made the shot."

"The third quarter play that got blocked turned into the winning play," Prokopij said.

Glenbrook North (14-11, 5-5), with its 41-39 win over Highland Park on Thursday night, broke a conference tie giving Maine West (18-7, 9-1) a half-game lead with a chance to win it all.

The Spartans made the Warriors work the whole game leading 8-4 after the first quarter and 17-15 at halftime.

Maine West came out more aggressive in the third quarter.

With the help of Darrington Bates (12 points) and Dones, who scored 12 of his 14 points in the third quarter, the Warriors were able to forge a 35-31 lead after three quarters.

They extended the lead to 43-35 following a basket by Milos Dugalic (17 points) which followed Dones' steal with 4:17 left in the game.

With 1:11 left in the game and Maine West ahead 47-44, the Spartans received the ball on a jump ball alternate possession.

Evan Barnes (14 points) hit a 3-pointer for Glenbrook North to tie the score with 54 seconds left.

A missed Spartan free throw turned into another jump ball possession with 15 seconds left, and Maine West gained possession.

That set up Kentgen's winning basket.

"Our kids played well," said Glenbrook North coach Dave Weber. "We had our chances but they came up with the big shot at the end."

Kellen Witherell led the Spartans with 18 points and 5 rebounds.

"Coach (Prokopij) has turned this around for us," Kentgen said. "We wanted to surpass what we did with 17 wins last year. We've played some great games this year and we play hard every night."

Dones also praised Prokopij along with his teammates.

"Coach 'P' is just a great coach and he cares for us," Dones said. "We bought into the program. We put our egos aside and this is what happened. I'm fighting back the tears as I watch my teammates cutting down the nets. This is something I'll always remember."

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