The Chaparral men’s basketball team will advance to the next round in the Region IV Tournament after defeating the Harper Hawks 79-69 Wednesday night.
The game was the first round of the tournament and the winner would advance to the semi-finals.
The Chaps were no stranger to Harper this season. It was the fourth time the Chaps had faced off against the Hawks, going 2-1 in the previous three contests.
Defending Harper’s shooters was one of the keys to the Chaparral game plan and the Chaps were determined to play stout defense.
“We basically just stuck to the coaches’ plan, not shooting the ball early and contain their shooters, “ Chaparral guard Dion Duffy said.
“That was really big once we took them out of the game it was just all on our defense.”
The team certainly met some lights-out shooting from the Harper offense; especially from Hawks guard John Lorenz.
Lorenz went on hot streaks in the second half where he seemingly could not miss a three-point shot.
But the Chaps were not fazed and were equally relentless in their offensive attack.
Second half lead changes were numerous and neither squad was able to take control of the game.
Every time one team gained momentum with a big shot or fast break points off of a turnover, the other would answer right back with a score of its own.
The game continued this way until the Chaps were finally able to take over.
It began with Duffy scoring three the hard way and giving the Chaps a 64-61 lead with just under five minutes to go.
Chaps guard Mark Penczak followed up Duffy’s score with a clutch three-pointer.
From that point on, the Chaps just built upon their lead.
When time finally expired, the Chaparrals came out with the ten point win and will keep their season alive for the next round of tournament play.
Duffy shared his thoughts on the significance of the Chaps’ first-round tournament victory.
“It was a very big win we’ve got a few sophomores on the team so we didn’t want their season to end early,” Duffy said.
This is the type of mindset that is fueling the Chaps throughout the tournament as well as the notion that anything can happen in the postseason.
After a disappointing regular season campaign in which the Chaps finished just 12-18, the team ended up with the fifth seed in the Region 4 Championship.
However, with this victory, the regular season woes are temporarily forgotten as the team’s focus is shifted towards their next tournament matchup.
The games get even bigger for the Chaps as they advance in the tournament; they will face number one seeded Joliet Saturday in the semi-finals.