York youngsters step up against Hinsdale Central
This was for all the York seniors, but especially the one who notably couldn't play.
With leading scorer Nate Shockey out with mononucleosis, the Dukes' boys basketball team rallied for Friday's 33-29 West Suburban Silver victory over Hinsdale Central on Senior Night in Elmhurst.
York's core of youngsters made it happen after a horrendous first half that saw a scoreless first quarter and a 14-5 halftime deficit against Hinsdale Central's stout defense.
Juniors Denton Rohde and Jeff Grace, and sophomores Nick Hesch and Drew Kircher -- who was promoted to varsity four games ago when Shockey first left the lineup -- methodically brought back the Dukes while combining for 29 points. Part of a pivotal 9-0 run, Grace's bucket midway through the fourth quarter gave York the lead for good at 25-24.
"This atmosphere, everyone came out for the seniors and the coaches told us at halftime that we really have to win it for them," said Rohde, who scored 6 of his 8 points at the start of the fourth quarter. "It was looking grim at halftime, but we knew we had it. We came back piece-by-piece and that was huge. It's just a grind."
Ryan Isaacson, who led all scorers with 11 points, knocked down a 3-pointer at the start of the second half to give Hinsdale Central (13-15, 7-5) its biggest lead of 17-5. York (27-3, 11-1) finally started making shots, with Grace and Hesch each hitting 3s to spark the rally.
Other than a three-point play by Charlie Sessa, who scored 8 points, near the start of the fourth quarter, Hinsdale Central spent most of the second half on the perimeter. For the game the Red Devils shot 5 of 19 from 3-point range.
One of the misses came on a game-tying attempt in the final 20 seconds. Kircher answered by splitting a pair of free throws to push the Dukes to their 33-29 margin with 6.3 seconds left.
"We just didn't do a very good job of getting the ball in the paint," said Red Devils coach Nick Latorre. "We settled for 3s, and when you do that against an excellent defense it's going to be tough to score."
Now that York put a cap on its first Silver title since 2006, the Dukes turn to Wednesday's WSC crossover game against Gold champion Hinsdale South at Addison Trail. And then it's wait and see on Shockey.
The Dukes are 4-0 without Shockey but clearly miss his impact. While he could be back for the playoffs, the diagnosis this late in the season puts that in jeopardy.
"It's something you can't mess with," said York coach Vince Doran. "We've had other guys step up, but we're hopeful to get him back."