Lake Park, Hinsdale Central eke out triumphs
It was a literal survive-and-advance game for Lake Park's Trevor Montiel.
Bloodied, bandaged and able to see out of only one eye, the senior forward somehow gutted out a rugged second half as top-seeded Lake Park tried to stave off an upset bid by 16th-seeded DuKane Conference rival Glenbard North.
Montiel and the Lancers' boys basketball team had just enough to hold on for Tuesday's 39-35 victory in the Class 4A Lake Park regional semifinals in Roselle.
Lake Park (23-8) advances to the regional final at 7 p.m. Friday to face No. 8 Hinsdale Central (14-16), a 35-32 winner of Downers Grove North in Tuesday's second semifinal.
"It was really different," Montiel said. "I'm used to playing 30 minutes a game and tonight that wasn't the case. It was hard to get in a rhythm, but we came out with a win. That's all that matters. I trusted my guys 100 percent with or without me."
Montiel went down midway through the second quarter while driving to the basket and smacked his head on the ground. He missed the remainder of the half as the trainer tried to control the bleeding, and after passing a concussion test he returned in the third quarter with a small bandage above his right eye.
When that bandage wasn't controlling the bleeding enough, however, Montiel went out again to get a full wrap around his head.
The Lancers couldn't break away from the Panthers (7-26), even with a 33-24 lead after Montiel scored three minutes into the fourth quarter. Rory Hills, who led his team with 9 points, knocked down a 3-pointer and scored on a steal to pull Glenbard North within 33-29.
The Panthers had the ball trailing 38-35 with 16 seconds left, but a game-tying 3-point attempt missed. Drew Myers sealed the win for Lake Park by splitting a pair of free throws.
Despite all the missed time, Montiel still managed 11 points to tie Luke Sgarbossa for team-high honors.
"Credit to them, they came in here with nothing to lose," said Lancers coach Billy Pitcher. "At this point every win is important. It doesn't matter who it's against or what the seeds are."
Hinsdale Central 35, Downers Grove North 32
You'd expect nothing less.
Not after Hinsdale Central and Downers Grove North split their West Suburban Silver games, and certainly not after they were paired in the Class 4A Lake Park regional by receiving the eighth and ninth seeds.
By coming up with a couple more fourth-quarter plays, the Red Devils' boys basketball team claimed Tuesday's 35-32 victory over Downers North to advance to the final.
Eighth-seeded Hinsdale Central (14-16) will play No. 1 Lake Park (23-8), a 39-35 winner over Glenbard North, at 7 p.m. Friday.
"We know everything about them, they know everything about us," said Hinsdale Central junior guard Charlie Sessa. "We just had to keep going and make sure we got the win. This is the one that matters most."
Hinsdale Central led by 10 points in the first half but the Trojans (14-16) used a 13-1 run to claw back. After that the lead never wavered more than 4 points either way.
The score late in the fourth quarter stayed at 29-29 for nearly two minutes before Sessa scored on a baseline floater with 36 seconds left. Hinsdale Central got the ball right back after the Trojans were whistled for an offensive foul.
Ryan Isaacson, who had 13 points for the Red Devils, hit a pair of free throws. But he was answered by a 3-pointer from Jack Mielke, who led the Trojans with 14 points, that narrowed the gap to 33-32 with three seconds left.
After Nic St. John sank two free throws for Hinsdale Central, Downers North missed a desperation 3-point attempt to tie.
"It was a matter of who was going to be fortunate enough to get it in the basket," said Red Devils coach Nick Latorre. "Both teams just competed really hard. It was a classic West Suburban Silver knock-down, drag-out brawl."