The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

February 24, 2009

Hilltoppers fall short in regional

DANVILLE — Coming off a 1-29 season in which their first win came in the opening round of the Armstrong-Potomac Regional, the Schlarman Hilltoppers had only one way to go — up.

The turnaround the Hilltoppers made this season was impressive, to say the least. But as many teams suggest, the post season is the time to shine.

After improving its number of wins by nine, Schlarman (10-19 overall) ended its season a few baskets short of another regional win, falling to the Heritage Hawks 56-50 on Monday.

“We were feeling good coming into the game,” sophomore Heath Goodwin said. “We knew that we had to stop two really good players that they have. We scored really well but didn’t play very good defense and they just went out on top.”

Goodwin (16 points, six rebounds) shot a perfect 4-for-4 in the third quarter, and senior James Cook missed only one shot in the period, scoring six of his 12 points.

Cook (eight rebounds, three assists, three blocks) got one of his two steals with four minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the third quarter and raced to the other end of the court to put his team up 33-32 for its first lead since two minutes, 55 seconds into the second period.

He gave the Hilltoppers the lead again at 45-44 with 5:23 remaining in the game, but that was the last time Schlarman held the advantage as the Hawks (16-14) finished the game on a 12-5 run. Eight of the 12 points were scored at the free-throw line.

“We knew they would do a good job with things because they are pretty athletic, too,” Heritage coach Andy Place said. “Their athleticism bothered us and we should have done a little better job rebounding the ball, but I thought they played exceptionally hard and it was a tough game for us, no doubt about it.

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