2/21/2017 4:47:00 PM Coalers fall to Plano, look ahead to Regional
by Brent Sumner Staff writer
Coal City faced a tough opponent Friday night when they took on the top team in the Interstate Eight Conference, Plano.
The Coalers kept the game close through most of the first half, and remained within striking distance in the third before the visiting Reapers went on a 23-5 run to win it 59-36.
"We played tough with Plano, who is the number one seed in our Sectional, for three quarters of the game," said Coal City coach Keith Kiper. "They just pulled away in the fourth with their athleticism and size. We should be able to pull some confidence from this game, knowing that we can play well against a good team."
Plano jumped to a 19-7 lead in the opening frame. The Coalers battled back in the second`, cutting the lead to only six points by half-time, 29-23.
Coal City kept up with Plano in the third, outscoring them 8-7, to head into the fourth trailing by only five points.
The fourth quarter resulted in the Reapers recording 23 points to Coal City's five, as they wound up with the win.
Christian Johnson led the Coaler offense with 14 points, shooting 7-for-8 from the charity stripe.
He was followed by Zack Nolan with nine points (all threes) and Kaleb Spreitzer with four points.
Jake Brnca, Ty Hakey, Blake Harseim and Carter Copes each added two points, and Sean Micetich rounded out the effort with a free throw.
Coal City will host the Class 3A regional starting Feb. 27.
The Coalers enter their Regional as the ninth seed, and will face Pontiac (10) on that Monday at 7 p.m. in Coal City.
The winner will advance to face Sandwich (2) on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
The team that wins that game will head into the Regional final, where they will face either Streator (3) or Morris (5) on Friday, March 3 at 7 p.m. The regional champions will advance to the Plano sectional.
Joliet Catholic 60,
Coal City 37
The Coalers took on Joliet Catholic Academy last Tuesday, where a strong second half from the hilltoppers caused Coal City to lose by 23 points.
"We faced a talented and athletic team tonight," said Kiper. "We played a strong first half by holding them to 26 and only being down 5. In the second half they came out intense and we came out flat."
Coal City managed 21 points in the first half to trail by only five points heading into the locker room.
Unfortunately, the Coalers only recorded 16 points in the second half, while the opposition exploded for 34 points to take the sizable lead.
Brnca was the only player to finish with double-digits, earning 12 points on the night, while Johnson followed with nine points.
Micetich added seven, Copes contributed five, and Nolan and Dan Kroeger rounded out the effort with two points each.
The team finished with 15 rebounds on the night, as Johnson paved the way with six of them.