Springfield Southeast denies North Chicago
PEORIA -- The last time North Chicago had made a downstate road trip in boys basketball was 2012. That year, the Warhawks pulled out an upset win against Springfield Lanphier and finished runner up to Peoria High School.
Many of the players on this year's Warhawks squad were in middle school at the time, watching the journey and beginning to have dreams of their own journey.
They eventually earned it, but on Friday, Springfield Southeast denied North Chicago the finish it was hoping for in the Class 3A state semifinals at Carver Arena in the Peoria Civic Center. The Warhawks fell 60-38.
North Chicago (22-9) will get the opportunity to play in the third-place game against Marian Catholic (25-6) at 11:15 a.m. Saturday.
Springfield Southeast (29-3) earned a title-game matchup with reigning champ Morgan Park Academy (24-9), which advanced by handing Marian Catholic 68-51.
"I thought Springfield was ready to play," North Chicago coach Gerald Coleman said. "They wanted the game really bad, and we just didn't do a really good job today. Give some credit to them -- they had something to do with it. And us not being tough with the basketball and not being able to score."
The Warhawks had a difficult shooting performance, finishing 14-for-57 from the field. They were just 1-for-18 from beyond the arc.
"Our team just didn't deliver today," Coleman added. "I have no stats like this in the 30 games that we have played. I can't give you stats like this. We like to play up-tempo, we like to score, we like to play pressure defense. But from an offensive standpoint in my 14 years coaching boys basketball, I've never seen stats like this."
Nobody for North Chicago reached double-figure scoring. Dyshawn Gales had a team-high 9 points and Raeshaun Gales had 6 points and pulled down 15 rebounds.
Springfield Southeast was led by Terrion Murdix with a game-high 19 points, 13 rebounds and 6 steals. Anthony Fairlee added 14 points and 3 blocked shots, and Michael Tylor chipped in with 10 points.
Southeast jumped out to a 22-11 lead after the first quarter. North Chicago closed the gap to 22-17 after a couple of free throws from Ishaun Walker with 4:23 left in the second quarter.
The Spartans closed the half with an 8-2 run and increased the lead to 30-19 at the break.
The Warhawks cut the lead to 9 in the third quarter after a few minutes, but Southeast responded with 9 unanswered points for a 43-25 advantage going into the final quarter.
"Very happy for my kids," Springfield Southeast coach Lawrence Thomas said. "The kids showed the effort that they've showed all year. These kids might not look imposing, but take an X-ray and you'll see. They got big hearts, and they're battlers. They come to play every game. I didn't know what the outcome was going to be initially, but what I did know my kids were going to play all 32 minutes."