North Chicago takes fourth in Class 3A
PEORIA -- North Chicago's boys basketball team was eager to produce a strong finale.
The Warhawks' effort reflected that notion -- before Marian Catholic took control in the final minutes on Saturday.
North Chicago ended up with a 58-48 loss in the Class 3A third-place game in Carver Arena.
The Warhawks (22-10) grabbed fourth place, while Marian Catholic (27-6) earned the third-place trophy.
Morgan Park Academy (25-9) won the Class 3A championship for the second straight year by racing past Springfield Southeast (29-4) in the title game 71-56.
For North Chicago, making it to state was a goal from the beginning of the season. Though the final step outcomes weren't what the Warhawks wanted, the program still looks at the weekend as a great accomplishment.
"We turned back into playing like North Chicago," North Chicago coach Gerald Coleman said. "I'm proud of my seniors -- I thought they played hard. It's nice to go out like this, and these kids made history at North Chicago High School. You couldn't ask anything more from them than to go out as a winner. The score says something else, but they went out as winners. Our goal was to fight back and we did."
North Chicago fell behind for the second time in two days. But in the third-place game, the Warhawks clawed their way back into it by the final quarter.
After trailing 29-22 at the break, the Warhawks closed the gap to 41-37 heading into the fourth quarter.
North Chicago put together a 12-2 run, as Syshonne Lymone made a layup with 5:25 left to put the Warhawks up 45-43 for its first lead since early in the second quarter.
"It's not so much that it shocked me," Coleman said. "That's the type of basketball we play. I thought we were just playing normal North Chicago basketball."
Marian Catholic responded the rest of the way behind Malik Tidwell (18 points), who scored 8 of the next 10 points as the the Spartans closed the game on a 15-3 run.
Ahron Ulis led Marian Catholic with a game-high 30 points and 7 rebounds.
"We survived, and we didn't play perfect," Marian Catholic coach Mike Taylor said. "We just made some good plays at the end. We expected traps and we had to understand that we had to get to the free throw line. We did get a little tentative there, but (North Chicago) got up by 2 and we responded really well, hitting big shots at the end."
The Warhawks were led by Isaun Walker with 13 points and Tyrek Cooper with 11. Raeshaun Samoa chipped in with 6 points and 10 rebounds.
"I think we were fighting for pride and fighting for our community," Walker said. "We know as players that we usually play our best. Coach Coleman says 'We play North Chicago basketball.' We just have a way to fight back. It just sticks with us."