Subfreshman sports: St. Matthew defeats Uni boys in regional final
Published: Friday, February 1, 2008 - 1:40pm
CHAMPAIGN — Despite a spirited comeback attempt, the Uni subfreshman boys fell just short of becoming the first subbie basketball team to win a regional championship.
With a 2-1 record in the playoffs, including a semifinal win over No. 1 seed Chrisman Scottland, the Illineks finished their season 8-5.
In Thursday's game, the Illineks were without their head coach, Rick Murphy, who was in Peoria with Uni's all-state musicians to take part in the Illinois Music Educators Association's annual All-State Conference. Coaching in Murphy's place was John Shapley, father of forward Johnny Shapley.
Uni, seeded fifth in the seven-team playoff bracket, kept things close in the first half against the No. 2 seed Raiders, who hosted the regional. The Illineks went into halftime trailing by 6 points, 22-16.
When play resumed, St. Matthew increased its lead to 28-16 before Uni scored its first points of the half, a pair of free throws by Shapley.
Two more foul shots by Shapley and a layup and free throw by forward Joseph Song closed the gap to 30-23 with 1:16 left in the third period. But the Raiders added 4 more points to go into the final period ahead 34-23.
In the fourth quarter, Song and 6-foot center Brandon Lin netted 4 points each as Uni reduced its deficit to just 5 points, 36-31, with 1:31 left in the game. As the clock wound down to 48 seconds, Song hit another basket to keep the contest within reach, 38-33.
But St. Matthew added another bucket 11 seconds later while Uni could muster only 1 more point, a Song free throw, as the Raiders clinched the regional championship with a 6-point victory.
Still, there were plenty of proud Uni fans when the game ended. Prior to this year, only the 2001-02 subbie boys team had ever reached the title contest of a regional. With players such as Song, Lin, Shapley, guard Simeon Washington, and guard Joe Easley leading the way, look for the Class of 2012 boys to make plenty of noise in future playoffs at the varsity level.
SUBFRESHMAN BOYS BASKETBALL ROSTER
Note: The following was Uni's official roster for the 2008 playoffs:
- No. 4 — Conrad Schloer, guard, 5-1
- No. 10 — Joe Easley, guard, 5-3
- No. 11 — Charles Bullock, guard, 5-4
- No. 21 — Ezra Winter-Nelson, guard, 5-3
- No. 25 — Simeon Washington, guard, 5-2
- No. 30 — Steven Morse, forward, 5-8
- No. 42 — Daniel Earl, forward, 5-6
- No. 43 — John Shapley, forward, 5-6
- No. 45 — Tahar Bowen-Pinto, forward, 5-5
- No. 51 — Joseph Song, forward, 5-10
- No. 53 — Brandon Lin, center, 6-0