PEORIA—North Chicago has a definite style. For more than a decade the Warhawks have been known for playing at a blisteringly fast pace and putting up big scoring totals.
North Chicago averaged 73 points on its playoff run to the Class 3A state semifinals this season, but everything came to a crashing halt in a 60-38 loss to Springfield Southeast on Friday at Carver Arena.
“In my 14 years of coaching I’ve never seen stats like this,” Warhawks coach Gerald Coleman said.
North Chicago missed 17 consecutive three-pointers, finishing 1-for-18 from three-point range. The Warhawks were 14-for-57 from the field. The second and third quarters were especially brutal.
“After a while we just gave up and stopped playing,” North Chicago senior Pierce Coleman said. “We just couldn’t get anything to fall. It was just a bad day, that’s all.”
North Chicago didn’t make a basket for the final four minutes of the second quarter and the final four minutes of the third quarter.
“These are some stats that I am not familiar with, but it happened and we are going to move on,” Gerald Coleman said. “Some of our leading scorers didn’t score big. They out rebounded us, we had way too many turnovers. We weren’t being tough with the basketball. Give credit to Springfield. They had something to do with us not being tough with the ball and not being able to score.”
Raeshaun Samoa, a 6-6 junior, led the Warhawks (22-9) with six points and 15 rebounds. DyShawn Gales scored nine and Ishaun Walker added six points. Senior Tyrek Cooper, North Chicago’s leading scorer, was held scoreless and shot 0-for-11 from three-point range.
“Springfield was ready to play, they were very well coached and the kids were hungry,” Gerald Coleman said. “They wanted the game badly and we didn’t do a good job. We just didn’t deliver today. We haven’t had stats like that in the 30 games we have played.”
Junior guard Terrion Murdix led Southeast (29-3) with 19 points, 13 rebounds and six steals. All-State junior Anthony Fairlee added 14 points and seven rebounds. Michael Tyler, a 6-7 junior, added 10 points and five rebounds.
North Chicago will try to bounce back on Saturday in the third place game against Marian Catholic.
“There were 300-some schools that would have loved to be here,” Gerald Coleman said. “We are going to hold our heads high and come back here and play tomorrow. It happens in basketball. This is part of life.”
The Spartans will move on and play Morgan Park, the defending Class 3A state champions, in the title game at 12:45 on Saturday. The Mustangs will be heavy favorites.
“We aren’t worried, we are just going to play our game,” Fairlee said. “We have to play our defense, that is everything for us. If we do what we need to do we will be good.”
A large crowd of Southeast fans were at the game, and are expected to return on Saturday.
“We had seven or eight fan buses,” Southeast coach Lawrence Thomas said. “It was phenomenal, very overwhelming. The kids showed the effort they’ve given the entire year. They may not look imposing, but take an x-ray and you will see that they have big hearts.”