Common Theme: Maine South scores three-peat

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Common Theme: Maine South scores three-peat

Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010
11:02 PM

By Steve Tucker
YourSeason.com

CHAMPAIGN -- Call it three the hard way.

Maine South, which started the season with consecutive losses to Schaumburg and Wheaton Warrenville South after 28 consecutive victories, ended it the same way it finished the last two years, with a Class 8A championship after the Hawks defeated Mount Carmel 28-7 Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

"It feels like a real long time ago the 0-2 start," Maine South coach Dave Inserra said. "I'd like to forget it. The kids, the team and the coaches came together. Three in a row, I'd like to say that is for myself, coach Rich Magsamen and coach Charlie Bliss. We've been together a long time."

Maine South (12-2) overcame a shaky start with a strong defense and a high-powered offense that came alive.

It is the first time since East St. Louis in 1983-85, a team won three consecutive titles in the largest class.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Caravan (11-3) tried a Nikko Rodriquez 41-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter, and missed. Maine South took over and drove 80 yards in eight plays, capped by a 14-yard touchdown run by Paul Preston (21 carries, 147 yards, two TDs) to go up 7-0.

The next time the Hawks got the ball, they struck in one play, a 57-yard touchdown pass from Matt Alviti (16-for-21, 224 yards, TD, 17 carries for 46 yards, TD) to Imran Kahn. The kick was no good, leaving the Hawks up 13-0.

The Hawks were dominant in the first half with 14 first downs and 248 yards of offense to four first downs and 84 yards for Mount Carmel.

In the second half, the Hawks added touchdowns on a 10-yard run by Preston to cap a 10-play, 95-yard drive, and a nine-yard run by Alviti.

Mount Carmel avoided the shutout with a 71-yard scoring pass from Chris Sujka 99 of 18, 119 yards, TD, two interceptions) to Mayan Cook with 1:08 remaining. It avoided the Caravan's first shutout in the state playoffs since they lost to Glenbard South 33-0 on Nov. 1, 2003.

Cook finished with five catches for 128 yards. Sujka was the leading rusher for Mount Carmel with 14 carries for 62 yards, while Michael Banks had eight carries for 42 yards.

The meeting was the third between the two powers in state tournament play. In 1995, the Hawks won the Class 5A title game 31-28 on a second-chance field goal. In 2007, Mount Carmel was a 21-14 winner in a Class 8A quarterfinal.

Inserra is 116-14 in 10 years (89 percent) with three state titles and two second-place finishes, while Mount Carmel coach Frank Lenti is 303-54 (85 percent), with nine state titles and five seconds in his 27th season.
"We just didn't execute offensively," Lenti said.

Scott Derrick led all Maine South receivers with seven receptions for 81 yards. Luke Motley had four catches for 31 yards. The Hawks won for the third year in a row with a different quarterback: Charlie Goro in 2008, Tyler Benz in 2009 and Alviti.

"Our young kids played like seniors and our seniors played like champions," said Inserra.

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks beat Avalanche; Bulls lose to Mavericks

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After loss to Mavs, Wade says Bulls 'keep putting (their) hand on the hot stove every day'

After loss to Mavs, Wade says Bulls 'keep putting (their) hand on the hot stove every day'

Dwyane Wade sounded every bit like a frustrated 35-year old father when talking about the repeated ills and so-called growing pains of his Bulls, as they surrendered yet another game against a sub-.500 team.

Sometimes it's the New York Knicks whom the Bulls are offering temporary refuge. Or maybe the Minnesota Timberwolves as they are all-too-generous to roll out the welcome mat for returning figures to Chicago.

Tuesday it was the Dallas Mavericks, the second-worst team in the Western Conference, who stormed into the United Center and escaped with a 99-98 win, courtesy of Wesley Matthews' triple with 11.7 seconds left followed by him locking down Jimmy Butler on the ensuing possession.

Wade was forced to take a contested 21-footer that went awry, but the Bulls' ills went far beyond the last two possessions, when the Mavericks exploited their strategy yet again.

"Either you learn the lesson or figure out," Wade said. "Keep putting your hand on the hot stove every day.

"We just gotta figure out not to put our hands on that stove. And understand when we come in the kitchen, that stove is hot, don't touch it. As I continue to say, this is a very young team and they have to play in these games and have to go through these moments. The one thing you want, whether it's this year or next year, is to not make the same mistakes."

The Bulls are apparently insistent on touching the stove and keep burning themselves, the most recent time with the confusion or the bad strategy in defending the Mavericks' final offensive possession.

Deron Williams found himself with Nikola Mirotic defending him off a switch from Jimmy Butler. Not the quickest afoot, Mirotic gave Williams an easy path to the basket and Wade was the backside help, not wanting to leave Matthews on the wing for a triple.

But with the bench commanding Wade to help, Williams easily found Matthews for an open 3 as Wade had no help for his man. With the Bulls up two, one could see how Wade didn't want to leave Matthews.

"I'll have to go back and watch, but it looks like Deron got downcourt, Wade went over to help and we didn’t rotate accordingly," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "We obviously need to do a better job of staying in front of the other end."

Mirotic was supposed to be brought back slowly in his return from strep throat, but he played the entire fourth quarter and 22 minutes overall, having lost eight pounds with his illness that had him miss four games.

[SHOP BULLS: Get your Bulls gear right here]

Their issues were game-long and have been seasonlong as the Mavericks were supposed to absorb a shellacking from a Bulls team that felt a 25-point beatdown in Texas last month.

Instead, they would've been happy with settling for an escape when Butler rose up over his college teammate Matthews for a 20-foot wing jumper with 22.8 seconds left.

Butler nearly added a triple-double and clutch moment to his growing resume with 24 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds but was dogged by Matthews all night, the defender who wouldn't give him airspace, went chest-to-chest and even earned a technical foul when he felt Butler exaggerated some contact in the third quarter.

"He took away my space, wouldn't let me get to my spot," Butler said of Matthews. "Good for him. I should've did something different."

Wade missed 13 of his 21 shots, scoring 17 with five rebounds on his 35th birthday

With scoring at a premium, Robin Lopez had a season-high 21 points being guarded by Dirk Nowitzki — and they were necessary considering the Bulls were without Taj Gibson (ankle injury) and Doug McDermott couldn't repeat his 30-point showing from Sunday in Memphis.

Rick Carlisle has long been regarded as one of the top strategic coaches, and though he doesn't have the usual personnel from the Mavericks' salad days, he had enough tricks up his sleeve to throw the Bulls off.

Six Mavericks scored in double figures, led by Harrison Barnes' 20 points and Seth Curry's 18, as Barnes, Matthews and Curry combined for eight triples — spreading the Bulls out and picking them apart defensively.

The Mavericks started Nowitzki at center, going to an almost all-small lineup. And though Lopez scored 14 points in the first half, trying to feed him seemed to take the Bulls out of it in the second half.

The energy was tardy to the party, as they shot just 41 percent in the first half but woke up a little in the third quarter — continuing their all-too familiar trend of half-hearted efforts against lesser teams.

And it looks like the ever-optimistic Wade is dishing out some realism, probably something that comes with the perspective of turning 35.

"You can't keep getting stressed out or frustrated. We've been going through this all year. We'll get back in in the morning.

"Once you realize who you are, you're better off. I sleep better at night. Once we want to be a better team and start winning games, we will. I'm not mad, I'm not frustrated, I'm not stressed. Just taking the hits."