With strike looming, West Chicago savors win
If Saturday was their final basketball game of the season, at least the boys from West Chicago treated their home crowd to a 61-51 nonconference win over Douglass.
Based on the West Chicago High School Teachers Association's intent to strike notice previously filed with Community High School District 94, teachers could strike as soon as Monday. However, the two sides will meet again at 5 p.m. Monday. Should negotiations fail to reach resolution a work stoppage could imperil the Wildcats' last two regular-season games, plus any playoff games.
"Yeah, but you've got to leave that behind you and worry about what you can control, and thinking that you are going to play. And when you have that mindset you'll be ready for anything," said Wildcats senior guard Jason Gimre.
On Saturday Gimre bolstered his program season and all-time 3-point records with five 3s and a game-high 30 points, the fourth time this season he's scored at least 30 points. He also made 11 of 12 free throws.
On its senior day West Chicago (9-14) enjoyed Gimre's scoring barrage and late heroics from guard Jeremy Belingon, the Wildcats' only other senior. Both left to applause when Wildcats coach Bill Recchia replaced them with 7.4 seconds remaining and Isaac Nelson at the foul line, game in hand.
"Great senior leadership tonight," Recchia said. "Jason did a great job being unflappable with guys draped all over him. Jeremy with the great defensive stops there at the end, big free throws at the end, a big steal. So, great senior leadership and just a great performance by Isaac with 11 points and 12 rebounds."
Douglass (6-17) couldn't overcome 21 turnovers, though Tyshaun Bryant's active second quarter of 10 points and 2 steals lifted the Tigers to a 27-24 halftime lead. John Banks led Douglass with 15 points.
West Chicago came out of halftime on a 7-0 run on a Nelson drive, a Gimre 3 and two Jordan Wilkins free throws, and never trailed again. Douglass pulled within 54-50 with 1:44 to play, but Wilkins and Belingon shoved the Tigers back from the foul line.
"Coach always tells us to play our game," Belingon said, "so I think if we can play our game -- knock down shots, trust each other -- we're going to turn out all right."