2/28/2017 3:32:00 PM Wildcats fall to Lisle in second round of Regional
by Brent Sumner Staff writer
The Wilmington varsity boys basketball team put up a tough fight last Wednesday night, but their season ultimately come to an end, as they fell to Lisle, 60-47.
The final score does not reflect the Wildcat effort as they rallied against the Lions, keeping the game within reach.
Lisle grabbed a 17-11 lead in the first quarter. But by half-time, the Wildcats closed the gap to only three points, 28-25.
"We wanted to attack offensively and get the ball to the rim as much as possible," said Wilmington coach Mark Langusch. "They (Lisle) put so much pressure on you with their defense that I thought we had our best chance to score if we got the rim."
The strategy worked, as Wilmington took a one-point lead midway through the third quarter.
Unfortunately, turnovers cost the Wildcats, as Lisle went on a run, jumping out 10 points ahead by the end of the frame, 46-36.
"I honestly think, and at times this season, teams were able to force turnovers," Langusch said. "We kind of made our own mistakes tonight. We turned the ball over unnecessarily with sliding a foot on a travel, passing a ball out of bounds. It happened enough throughout the four quarters to never let us really get on top of the team scoring wise."
The fourth quarter saw Lisle padded their lead, as they outscored the Wildcats, 14-11, securing the win.
RJ Van Duyne was hot from the perimeter, finishing the night with five three-pointers and a team-leading 19 points.
Joey Flannery followed with 12 points, and Dylan Winker chipped in with six.
Matteo Lombardi earned four points in the third quarter, Will Van Duyne added a three-pointer, Keith Lamaster earned two, and Anders Almberg rounded out the effort with a lone free-throw.
The Wildcats end their season with an overall record of 7-17 (1-10 conference), including a first-round win in the Regional against Seneca.
"I am just really proud of them," Langusch said. "We don't concentrate on any part of that game, there is no need for that right now. I just talked about how proud of them I am."
In addition to talking with his players after the game, Langusch also thanked the seniors for the work and leadership they brought to the team.
"RJ is a natural born leader, and he is like a coach on the floor," Langusch added. "I told all of my seniors that I was proud of them. Dylan Winker, he worked his butt off to be where he is. I just told him how grateful I was for the work he put in."
Also, while Langusch isn't a coach to make excuses, he said that he missed several players through injuries, but was still proud of his team fighting through the adversity.
"We lost a senior last play of the IC Catholic football game, blew out his knee," he said. "Our point guard was out for the first 10 games of the season, then we lost Tully our other senior for the last 12 games with a broken hand."
"Where we are at, when you lose a player, it is tough through the season," Langusch continued. "But I am proud of this team and the way they worked at the end. This game and the one against Seneca were filled with hard work, and the fans could tell. When a team works really hard it is nice to see them see some success."
While the program sees its season come to an end, there is some silver lining on the horizon with seven juniors returning to the varsity line-up next year, including the two leading scorers, Lombardi and Flannery.
" Retention of players is key, and keeping those lower levels in," said Langusch. "I hope all of the juniors come back. Having seven guys come back with varsity experience is a plus for any team inside the I-8. I am excited."