Warren holds off Plainfield North in OT
PONTIAC -- 8 a.m. comes early.
But the Warren boys basketball is used to that time and it showed.
Nate Harris scored a huge 4-point play in overtime as the Blue Devils fought off Plainfield North 55-53 in a game that was close throughout, on Wednesday morning in the 8 a.m. opening consolation bracket game at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.
Warren (7-3) played Peoria Manual, a 68-67 winner over Lockport, at 9 p.m. on Wednesday night to see who would advance to the consolation championship game, which is slated for 4 p.m. on Thursday. Manual won.
"Nobody was happy with the way we played in the opening round," Warren coach Jon Jasnoch said of his team's 81-55 loss to Oak Park-River Forest on Tuesday. "We were determined to show that we were better than that.
"We've had plenty of 8 a.m. practices, that's our slotted time on Saturdays and some other days. So our guys were ready to play. We had a scheduled 6 a.m. wake-up call and everyone was already up and took care of all the little things."
The game was close throughout, with 10 ties and 15 lead changes, including seven lead changes in the fourth quarter and overtime. The Blue Devils led 48-45 after Harris, a senior guard who finished with 13 points, hit a pair of free throws with 30.5 seconds left in regulation.
Plainfield North (4-9) missed a 3-pointer and had the ball go out of bounds off Warren. Following a time out with 11.5 seconds, the Tigers missed a pair of 3-pointers but got the rebound each time and whipped the ball around to junior forward Drew Czarnik (7 points), who just beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer from the left corner to tie the game at 48-48.
Things looked positive for Plainfield North to start the overtime as a layup by sophomore swing player, Jeffrey Flemming (13 points, 11 rebounds) made it 51-48 with 1:31 to play in the extra session.
But enter Harris, who drained a 3-pointer from the right baseline as he was knocked to the ground. He calmly got up and sank the free throw to give the Blue Devils the lead for good.
"It was just a really good feeling," Harris said of the play. "We set a triangle screen for the 3-pointer and to hit that gave me and the team a lot of confidence.
"It was great to bounce back from (Tuesday) for this win. Going forward it will give us a lot of confidence."
In the final 32.6 seconds, senior guard Gavin Cartwright (7 points) sandwiched 3-of-4 free throws around a pair from Tiger junior guard Demir Ashiru (13 points, 5 assists) to put Warren ahead 55-53. Plainfield North called a pair of timeouts with 4.7 seconds to play to set up the last shot but the Blue Devils played good defense and a wild 28-foot attempt at the buzzer went off the left side of the backboard.
A pair of senior guards led their respective teams in scoring. Andrew Dolan had a game-high 18 points for Warren while Mason Delaney tallied 16 for the Tigers. The Blue Devils also received 10 points and 8 rebounds from junior forward Adam Panek.
"We played eight guys and everyone contributed," Jasnoch said. "The guys trusted each other out there and that showed on what we did on the defensive end of overtime."