Boys basketball ends season with winning record

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Junior Darren Anderson prepares to shoot a free throw against Romeoville.

Brandon Piszczek, Sports Media class

The Minooka boys basketball team ended the regular season with a 46-41 road win over Joliet Central on March 6.  They would look to carry the momentum from that win into the SPC Tournament going up against Plainfield Central in their first matchup.

Minooka didn’t come out of the gate too hot. Fast forwarding straight to the second half, they found themselves down 8 points late in the 3rd quarter. But, with help from juniors Ricky Hill and Trevor Hudak, the boys were able to mount a comeback and outscore Plainfield Central 22-10 in the 4th quarter to come away with a 10-point victory on March 8.

The players were not ready to let their season end,” Kevin Cain, Minooka head coach said.

The next task for Minooka was Plainfield South on March 10. Despite digging themselves a deep hole in the 1st quarter, the boys fought back and won each of the last three quarters. After tying the game at 43-43 in the 3rd quarter, the Indians weren’t able to pull off another successful comeback and ended up falling to the  No. 3 seed Cougars. This loss ended Minooka’s season.

“We had a bad first quarter and allowed them to get going while we tried to chase and forced ourselves to play to the tempo they wanted,” senior Thomas English said. “We didn’t control the pace and that let them get out and run which is what they wanted to do.”

Despite getting bounced in the 2nd round of the SPC Tournament, the Minooka Indians still had a successful season. Finishing with an overall record — including postseason– of 8-5, the boys had to deal with the new rules that came with COVID and handled them well.

“I am proud of the 13 individuals on our varsity squad that stuck through the chaos COVID-19 through their way. There was no complaining. There was no questioning,” Cain said. “There were just 13 individuals that came together to work toward a common goal, every single day. I am very happy and proud of all of our players this season.”

Minooka has a number of seniors who won’t be back next season. Even in a COVID-shortened season, it was important for the seniors to have a season and make one last run together. Many of, if not all, of these seniors have been together since freshman year.

It was definitely emotional,” English said. “These seniors are my brothers and I’ve played four years with them now and it’s crazy to think that it’s over. I was thankful to even be having a season this year, but I still wish we could’ve had a full season because I think this year’s group was really special.”

As for next season, Cain believes that there is a lot of talent and experience returning and that the current juniors turning seniors will be able to keep this team going in the right direction.