The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

February 27, 2014

Storm pulls away from Wolves

Milford gets past Chrisman in physical semifinal game

BY JIMMY HARRIS sports@dancomnews.com
The Commercial-News

---- — CATLIN — The Salt Fork boys basketball team shot 16-of-24 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s Class 1A regional semifinal as Cissna Park was trying to stretch the game out as long as possible and climb back in it but couldn’t do it as the Storm take down the Timberwolves 72-58 to advance to the regional championship game Friday at 7 p.m.

Salt Fork came out aggressive and excited and jumped all over Cissna Park by playing good defense and rebounding.

“We did a good job tonight defensively and I thought that was a big key to the victory,” Salt Fork coach Andrew Johnson said.

The Storm built a lead by getting the ball in the middle to their center Max Stutsman who was 7-for-7 in the first half to help pace and lead the Storm.

“We came out and tried to establish the post and we did that, as I made some shots and the team kept giving me the ball,” Stutsman said.

Along with Stutsman, Ross Learnard attacked the rim all night along with the rest of the Storm and this caused the Timberwolves foul trouble. The Storm denied the Timberwolves’ 3-point shooters the ball and made them drive to the basket and they didn’t shoot the ball well.

Salt Fork shot a good percentage for the game and kept double digit lead from the second quarter on. The Timberwolves wouldn’t quit and kept fighting but the Storm always had an answer for anything the Timberwolves could do.

The Timberwolves tried to make it interesting down the stretch as they hit some 3’s to close the gap to 12 but couldn’t get it under that and Salt Fork moves on by knocking down free throws and now moves on to play Milford for the regional championship Friday night.

In the physical first game of the night Milford (18-5) overcame a slow start to defeat a scrappy Chrisman (19-9) team 61-51.

Chrisman came out of the gate fast with shooting 4 of 5 from the deep and the first four minutes of the game and it gave them the lead 14-4 at the 330 mark. Milford turn the ball over 7 times in the first quarter to help give Chrisman an 18-4 lead after one quarter.

“We started well and did a good job of following the game plan early,” Chrisman coach Greg Gisinger said.

The Bearcats came out in the second quarter with an aggressive defense and held Chrisman to a field goal in the second quarter and the game was tied 24-24 at the half.

“I thought we did a good job in the second quarter defensively and rebounding to get us back in the game,” Milford Assistant Coach Dave Caldwell said.

The third quarter was a stalemate with both teams having a good four minutes to keep the game close and Milford lead 35-34.

The fourth quarter went to Milford as they extended their defense and got in shooters faces to deny them the three point shot but Chrisman wouldn’t quit and Ty Bolen (30 points) led the Cardinal attack to try to come back but it fell short as the closings seconds wound down.

“It was a very good year and I am so proud of these guys, this was a special group and I am sad it is over,” Gisinger said.