Uplift wins first state championship defeating St. Teresa

SHARE Uplift wins first state championship defeating St. Teresa
SHARE Uplift wins first state championship defeating St. Teresa

This is how Jeremy Roscoe and Spencer Foley dreamed it up.

Playing through adversity and finding a way to triumph in their own immutable style and putting a stamp on the finishing touches of a historic quest.

Roscoe scored five straight points that swung the tide, and Foley contributed a crucial 3-pointer as the No. 15 Titans rallied from a six-point deficit in beating Decatur St. Teresa 53-47 to capture the Class 2A State Championship at Carver Arena Saturday night.

The championship is the first in any sport for the 10-year-old high school whose basketball program has emerged as a North Side power the last three years.

Daniel Soetan secured the victory with a decisive steal and assist that sophomore Demarius Jacobs (seven points) finished with a three-point play with 32.8 seconds remaining for a 51-45 Uplift advantage.

Foley scored seven of his 10 points in the fourth quarter. He added a team-best seven rebounds as Uplift managed a 33-30 rebounding edge that provided useful second chance opportunities.

Roscoe drilled a free throw line jumper for the game’s fifth and final lead change, a 36-35 Uplift advantage. On the ensuing possession, he calmly brought the ball down the court and banged home a 3-pointer from the left wing.

Roscoe scored six of his 11 points in the fourth quarter as Uplift utilized a 13-4 run for a 47-39 lead with 2:41 remaining. “I just knew that our backs were against the wall, and this was my last high school game, and I had to step up and make shots,” Roscoe said.

Soetan scored a team-best 13 points and collected six rebounds, six assists and five steals. His ballhawking defense helped turn the game as Uplift forced four turnovers in the decisive fourth quarter. “The team feeds off of me, and I just knew I had to make plays there,” Soetan said.

Deshon Fluckes added eight points and six rebounds. Uplift (28-5) converted 15 of 17 free throws. Foley drilled two foul shots with 14.9 seconds that sealed the victory. He shot just three of 14 from the field. When it mattered, Foley delivered. “My shot wasn’t really falling, but I hit the shot when we really needed it,” Foley said.

“That’s all that mattered is that we won.”

Soetan and Fluckes also helped harass St. Teresa star 6-6 forward Christian Williams into six of 17 shooting. Williams scored a game-high 15 points to lead the Bulldogs (27-5).

Uplift’s collective performance illustrated the depth and quality as all seven Uplift players who saw action produced points and rebounds.

After shooting a blistering 10 of 21 3-pointers against Breese Mater Dei in the semifinals, Uplift struggled finding open spaces against the Bulldogs’ sophisticated 1-2-2 and 2-3 zones that forced the Titans’ star shooters Foley and Roscoe.

Uplift shot just two of-12 on 3-pointers in the title game.

St. Teresa was 17-1 with Williams in the lineup after he returned to the program following a short stint at Springfield Lanphier. The Bulldogs smashed defending Class 2A state champion Bloomington Central Catholic in the supersectional.

The Titans failed to take advantage of Williams’ absence after he picked up his third foul 6:28 into the second quarter. They suffered through a six-minute scoring drought as the Bulldogs ripped off an 11-0 run in pushing out to a 25-21 advantage at the break.

Foley and Roscoe shot a combined one of 10 in the first half. Uplift has prospered in the state tournament by making strong adjustments and adapting to different styles of play. It all came together.

“This is for my city, for Rogers Park, for the whole North Side of Chicago,” Soetan said. “We brought it home.”

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