Mangrola, Bartlett stifle Batavia in regional semifinal
Shubh Mangrola has no problem sprawling all over the floor or providing any spark he can off the bench.
For the Bartlett senior guard, at this stage, any game could be his last. Mangrola and the Hawks delivered a spectacular fourth-quarter comeback to defeat Batavia 57-49 in the Class 4A Addison Trail regional semifinal on Wednesday.
The Hawks had 29 points to end the third quarter and nearly eclipsed it in the final eight minutes.
"I've just got to give it all on the court. I didn't want to regret anything," Mangrola said following his 12-point performance off the bench. "[In the future looking back] at least I can say I gave it my all."
"One of the things we love about Shubh and really, Keegan Kunzer, who was a starter out there, [and] Will [Poulopoulos], they get after it," Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith said. "Those seniors, they realize this is it, right? They wanted to play one more day, and so the seniors knew it. Kelton [McEwen] led the way; Nathan [Scearce] led the way on offense, but the whole thing was keyed by the way Shubh played."
Mangrola popped in six of his nine fourth-quarter points in just over four minutes, which included his game-tying layup with 3:58 left to even it at 39. Batavia senior Jack Ambrose went 1 for 2 at the free-throw line the ensuing possession, but the Hawks ripped off a 10-0 run that was fueled by Bartlett forcing three Bulldogs turnovers in the sequence to take a commanding 49-40 lead with 2:22 remaining.
Ambrose's layup snapped the cold streak 50 seconds later, but the Hawks went 6 for 8 the rest of the way at the line and also had a Ravi Banipal layup to cap off the comeback. They'll go for their first regional title since 2018 vs. top-seeded Benet Friday at 7 p.m.
The Redwings defeated Addison Trail in the first semifinal 74-30. Ewola Moukoulou had eight points, while Jack Burns, Patrick Walsh and Jason Garcia all had six points for Benet.
"The way [Mangrola] attacked [Batavia guard Nate Nazos] defensively, you saw what Nazos did in the first half [10 points]. He had an 8-0 or 10-0 run to create that separation. We had to close out, and Shubh almost the entire half was on him," Wolfsmith said. "Really, really struggled to get easy-clean looks, and that led to our guys getting defensive stops and forcing them to make tough shots. We turned it into offense at the other end with the transition."
Mangrola, evidently, knows "one way to play and that is: 'You-know-what to the wall.'"
"He had a monster game against East Aurora [in the regular season] where he did the same thing in the second half," Wolfsmith said. "He just went off. I think he finished with 20 points that game. It was like [what transpired tonight]: Defend, get a steal, get a layup, get fouled, get a free throw [and] cause chaos."
McEwen finished with 18 points, while Scearce had 13 points to pace Bartlett (19-12).
Batavia (16-15), meanwhile, looked back fondly on a season that began 4-11 and ended with a 12-4 run.
"They're not going to be remembered in my book by a fourth quarter or the end of this game. [This is] a team that just came miles for the entire season," Bulldogs coach Jim Nazos said. "So no way is a half or a quarter going to dictate what I think of these seniors or this whole team, juniors, too, and everything that we have there."
The Bulldogs were paced by Ambrose's 11 points and eight rebounds, while Nazos scored 12 points and CJ Valente had eight points and five rebounds.
"Credit Bartlett. They played really well," Nazos said. "They did a lot of good things in the second half to make things difficult and hit shots. So, lot of credit goes to them. [This is] is a team where I really don't know what to say to in these moments. Just brokenhearted for them. They cared. They came to work. From where they were to where they came, that's what I'll remember."