Schaumburg rolls past Hoffman Estates
Over the past few years the sport of basketball has seen some great stories of redemption where teams have come back the following season after having fallen short of championship glory.
After losing to Villanova on a last-second shot in the 2016 NCAA National title game, North Carolina came back the following year to take the crown by beating Gonzaga.
In a four-year span between the 2015 and 2018 NBA Finals both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors intertwined comebacks starting with Cleveland avenging its 2015 series loss one year later with three straight wins after falling behind 3 games to one to win its first title. Golden State would then come back from that heartbreaking defeat to best the Cavaliers the next two years.
Thanks to a dominant 62-27 win at Hoffman Estates Friday night, Schaumburg (22-5, 7-2) will get an opportunity to write a comeback tale of its own when it hosts Palatine next Friday in a winner-take-all contest for the Mid-Suburban West title and a berth in the February 26 MSL Championship game.
It marks the second straight season the Saxons find themselves in this position. Last year, they saw their division title hopes dashed when in overtime by Fremd.
"It's one of those things when you're happy that you put yourself in that situation," Schaumburg coach Wade Heisler said. "Now we got to get ourselves in the mindset to prepare to do something with that situation."
After struggling with Hoffman in period one and leading 8-7, the visitors turned in a game-defining second quarter where they outscored the home team 22-5 and held the Hawks to just 2 of 7 shooting while forcing 5 turnovers. Wisconsin junior commit Chris Hodges would ring up 8 of his game-high 19 points during that span, leaving Schaumburg comfortably ahead 30-12 at the break.
The Hawks (8-16, 0-9) would get no closer than 30-14 on Vatsal Pandya's basket just 45 seconds into the second half. The 5-foot-11 senior led Hoffman with 12 points. The Hawks shot 9 of 45 from the floor for the game.
"We knew they were going to fight us and we had to keep being consistent," said Hodges, who added 4 rebounds and 3 assists. "Defensively. Offensively. Attack. Shoot outside. Post up on the inside. Firing on all of our attributes."
Before facing the Pirates a Tuesday night trip to Fox Valley Conference leading Cary-Grove (24-3) is on Schaumburg's immediate agenda.
"We've got a busy week ahead of us," Heisler said.