Glenbard West holds off Lake Zurich


Glenbard West holds off Lake Zurich

Mike Clark

Glenbard West considers itself a run-first, pass-second team and that was literally the game plan on Saturday.

After Joe Zito ran for four yards on the first play from scrimmage, the Hilltoppers got a 73-yard scoring pass from Henry Haeffner to Nate Hokenson on the next snap.

"Nate Hokenson is one of the fastest kids in our conference," Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet said. "He's the fastest kid in our school. ... This was his moment to shine. We said, 'We're going to run that pass second play of the game come hell or high water."

The big play gave No. 1 Glenbard West a lead it never lost en route to a 19-13 win over No. 11 Lake Zurich in a Class 7A semifinal. The home game for Glenbard West was played at Glenbard South because of poor field conditions at the Hilltoppers' own stadium.

Haeffner threw another touchdown pass, a 22-yarder to Nathan Marcus just before halftime, and finished 9-of-14 for 156 yards as the Hilltoppers (13-0) showed another dimension on offense than the one they're best known for.

"I think we've known that we can throw all season," Haeffner said. "We don't really need to. We're a run-first offense all the way. "We all know that. I know that. The receivers know that. But if we need to throw, we'll do it."

The Hilltoppers also had a one-yard touchdown run from Devante Toney (20 carries, 73 yards) in building a 19-0 halftime lead. Scott Andrews added 66 yards on six carries, all in the first half, as he continued to deal with injury issues.

Glenbard West seemed on the verge of putting the game out of reach when Jordan Hassan recovered a Lake Zurich fumble inside the Bears' 20 early in the third quarter. Glenbard West had a first-and-goal at the Lake Zurich 7-yard line when the Bears suddenly came alive.

Grant Soucy recovered a Hilltoppers fumble and ran it back 95 yards for a score that cut the deficit to 19-6 at 7:05 of the third quarter.

"I had a caravan of white jerseys that I followed to the end zone," Soucy said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime feeling."

The Bears scored on another fumble recovery to make it 19-13 late in the third This time Noah Allgood recovered a teammate's fumble and ran it in from two yards out.

"At halftime our mentality was not to make any mistakes and we made some," Haeffner said. "When we needed to secure the ball, we let it go. And that's something we need to work on."

But Glenbard West's defense forced a punt on Lake Zurich's next possession and got a takeaway on the Bears' final drive: an interception by Tyler Dayton with 2:00 left.

The Hilltoppers ran out the clock to earn a date with No. 4 Lincoln-Way East (13-0) in the Class 7A final next Saturday in Champaign. "To be honest, I think we started off a little too slow and it was ... too big of a hole to get out of," Soucy said.

The Hilltoppers held Lake Zurich to 28 rushing yards and 100 yards total. "Nobody's run on us all year," Hetlet said. "Those 11 guys on the field are as good as anybody in the state of Illinois against the run."

Horace Grant on current state of Bulls: 'No need to panic'

Horace Grant on current state of Bulls: 'No need to panic'

After the Bulls got off to a 3-0 start, it looked like this would be a team that might be able to give LeBron James and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers a run for their money in the Eastern Conference.

The Bulls proceeded to lose their next three, tempering those optimistic expectations. What those first six games proved is that they're an inconsistent bunch, and it's been a microcosm of their season past the halfway mark.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Entering Thursday, the Bulls were slotted in as the No. 8 seed in the East with a 21-22 record through 43 games.

Former Bulls forward/center Horace Grant, who was named a special advisor to president and chief operating officer Michael Reinsdorf last year, joined SportsTalk Live on Thursday to talk about the team's current state, and why Bulls fans shouldn't panic just yet.

Check out his comments in the video above.

See what else he had to say during his SportsTalk Live appearance and on In The Loop below:

Jimmy Butler acknowledges 'huge accomplishment' but stays nonchalant about All-Star starter nod

Jimmy Butler acknowledges 'huge accomplishment' but stays nonchalant about All-Star starter nod

ATLANTA — Jimmy Butler insisted being a starter in the All-Star Game means next to nothing, but it seems to go against his never-ending battle for credibility and validation as a legit superstar.

Moments after it was revealed he would be an All-Star starter for the first time and make his third overall trip to All-Star weekend, he sang the same nonchalant tune.

"It hasn't changed at all," Butler said on a conference call Thursday evening. "Obviously, it's a huge accomplishment and honor to be named a starter. But it's All-Star weekend. There are going to be a lot of good players there. I guess it's just another name thrown in with some decent players."

The NBA's format for selecting the All-Star starters changed this season, with fans no longer being the sole group that gets to vote for starters. If it was still a fans-only vote, Philadelphia's Joel Embiid would've started in Butler's place.

But with the new formula that allows the media and the players to take part in the vote, the fan vote accounts for just 50 percent of the formula. So Butler joined Cleveland's LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, Milwaukee's Giannis Antekounmpo and Toronto's DeMar DeRozan in the starting five for the Eastern Conference.

Butler's is averaging 24.8 points with 6.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists, career-highs across the board, and had he not been selected as a starter, the Bulls' 20-21 record would not have prevented coaches from selecting him as a reserve as they had the last two seasons.

[SHOP BULLS: Get a Jimmy Butler jersey right here]

He won't be joined in the starting lineup by Dwyane Wade, who finished second in backcourt voting behind Irving, but cast his vote for his teammate anyway and hopes Wade will be selected as a reserve.

"Of course. He's been a huge part of what we're doing here, and I think he has played extremely well the first part of the season," Butler said. "He got my vote. I will tell you that."

Golden State's Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant will start for the West, along with Houston's James Harden, San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard and New Orleans' Anthony Davis, a Chicago native.

The fun-filled and busy weekend in New Orleans begins Feb. 17, from the league events to the parties to the festivities and then finally the All-Star Game on Sunday night.

Butler likely views it as more of an accomplishment for his team of trainers and confidants then himself.

"It's fun, man. You get to know the other really good players in the league, and you get to know a little bit about them," Butler said. "And the experience that you get to be a part of, whether it be the Jordan party or taking your guys with you everywhere. That's the most fun part for me, my trainers, my brothers, everybody that's behind the scenes helping me gets to experience it too."