York gains Tosh final
York's boys basketball team will return to the championship of its own Jack Tosh Holiday Classic for the first time since winning it in 2015.
However, the Dukes may lack a key component.
After St. Laurence's Jeremiah Williams made a basket at 2:47 of the second quarter in York's 62-38 victory Saturday, officials halted play as Dukes starting guard Nate Shockey writhed in pain, clutching his left leg. The junior had to be helped from the court. He returned after halftime on crutches, his left ankle wrapped in ice.
"The trainer thinks it's just an ankle sprain," Shockey said after the game, calling it a lower-ankle injury.
"I sprained this one earlier in the year," he said. "This one, I heard a crack. We'll see, I guess. I'm probably going to get an X-ray tonight, so we'll see."
Fortunately York (13-1) has an off day before facing Downers Grove South for the Tosh title at 3 p.m. Monday. For Saturday's purposes the Dukes also had the front-line depth and experience to overcome the injury and St. Laurence (14-2).
"We were all confident. We knew we could get through it. We just had to slow it down. We had trust in everyone and just ran our press-break," said York senior forward Sam Walsh, who scored a game-high 18 points with 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
Chaos ruled the day in the first and third quarters, St. Laurence committing 21 turnovers for the game, York 19.
"We knew they wanted to speed it up and they want to play really fast," Walsh said. "Sometimes we'd go their speed and we'd get a little messy, but then our seniors stepped up and said, Hey, we've got to stop, we've got to slow it down and just work our offense. That created open shots."
York led 9-0 before St. Laurence pulled within 14-11 after one quarter. Despite Shockey's injury York outscored the Vikings 14-5 in the second quarter, capping the half with consecutive three-point plays by Walsh and Erik Cohn, who scored 14 points.
"They're a hard team to play against because they play so fast," said York coach Vince Doran, his team off to its best start since 2013 when the Dukes entered the Tosh final 12-0 then lost to Lake Forest.
"They've been a challenge for almost all their opponents, to try to control the tempo against them's very difficult to do. I think we kind of settled in where we got a little comfortable with what they were doing," Doran said.
St. Laurence coach Jim Sexton sprung a full-court press that initially stunned York. But once past the first trap the Dukes mastered it with long, diagonal passes to Walsh and guard Jeff Grace.
York's 1-2-2 zone defense forced 27 percent 3-point shooting while the Dukes made at least 60 percent both inside and outside the arc. Leading 40-22 after three quarters the Dukes upped it to 50-30 by 5:01 of the fourth quarter and within a minute Sexton emptied his bench. Williams's 10 points led the Vikings.
"We're just having fun playing together as a team, finding the open guy," Cohn said. "Jeff comes off the bench, handles the pressure phenomenally, he's a sophomore. We've got Nick (Kosich, 10 points, 4 steals), who handles the pressure unbelievably."
York seeks its third Tosh title in Doran's seven seasons in Elmhurst, including his 2012 debut.
"Everybody's obviously excited about the final -- the coaches, the players, the community," he said. "We've had great crowds. This has been the most well-attended Tosh since I've been here in seven years. I'm sure Monday people will be excited about it."