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Lane’s basketball resurgence continues with upset win over Proviso East

Proviso East's James Hobson (2) grabs the arm off Lane's Michael Molloy (1) to slow him down, Wednesday 02-27-19. Worsom Robinson/For Sun-Times

Michael Molloy, Johnny Colombo and Vuk Djuric have been on Lane’s varsity for four years. The trio has led a basketball resurgence at the North Side school.

Last year they led the Indians to a first place finish in the White-North and promotion to the Red-North/West super conference. Earlier this season Lane cracked the Super 25 for the first time in almost two decades.

They aren’t done yet.

The Indians overcame a 14-point third quarter deficit to knock off No. 25 Proviso East 58-56 in a Class 4A regional semifinal at Young on Wednesday. Lane (18-10) will face the host Dolphins for the regional title on Friday. It’s the school’s first appearance in a regional final since 2007.

“For the past ten years or whatever Lane hasn’t been at its best,” Colombo said. “But this year we knew we would be a really good team. We are trying to open eyes and do something really special. People are starting to slowly see that. We have a lot more to do. After four years we want it more than anything.”

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Colombo had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Molloy scored 12, including two huge three-pointers in the fourth quarter.

“It’s been a rough finish to the season the past three years,” Molloy said. “We’ve lost on buzzer beaters every year.”

It almost happened again. Proviso East’s James Hobson launched a wide-open three-pointer just before the buzzer but it didn’t fall.

Djuric, a wily and tough 6-6 post player, has been a major difference-maker all season for the Indians. He finished with 12 points and 19 rebounds. That dominance of the boards was huge with Lane only shooting 3-for-20 from three-point range.

“Those rebounds, they make a big difference,” Djuric said. “When [Lane’s Eric Stemper got the rebound of a missed free throw with eight seconds left] that was a make or break play. That doesn’t necessarily have to do with skill, it is just putting in the extra effort and wanting it more than the other guy.”

Stemper, a junior, had seven points and three rebounds off the bench. almost all of his production came in the clutch final minutes. Senior Jimmy Mulvaney, a starter, added 13 points.

“We shot terrible, I shot terrible too,” Molloy said. “[Lane coach Nick LoGalbo] is really philosophical all the time. He calls it the law of averages and says that eventually everything is going to average out. We’ve missed a lot of shots but they are going to start dropping eventually.”

Hobson led Proviso East (23-9) with 23 points and Devin Spencer scored 13. No one else managed more than five points.

“We stuck to our gameplan, attached to [Hobson] and [Spencer],” Molloy said. “They were their life on offense. Once we shut that down their offense died a lot.”

The Indians lost at Young 78-69 on Jan. 23, but it was a five-point game with less than two minutes to play.

Lane has yet to earn much respect around the area, but no one in the program seems intimidated by the task ahead on Friday.

“This means nothing,” Djuric said. “We have talked all year about a regional championship. The way we have played in our conference has surprised a lot of people. That’s what it is going to come down to, showing we can play with anyone.”