Hillcrest claims third place in Class 3A


Hillcrest claims third place in Class 3A

By Clyde Travis

Peoria All the jitters that Hillcrest felt against Peoria Central in Fridays Class 3A semifinal disappeared against Springfield Lanphier Saturday.

The Hawks played loose and went on to defeat the Lions 72-67 to capture third place Saturday at Carver Arena.

Our girls lost the same way we did in their opening semifinal game, but they fought back to bring home the third-place trophy," Hillcrest senior Jalen Loving said, "and we wanted to do the same thing."

Hillcrest had things going its way early, racing out to a 24-8 lead in the second quarter and 33-20 halftime lead.

The Hawks continued their aggressive play in the third quarter and carried a 53-42 lead into the final period. But the Lions would not go quietly despite being down by 17 in the final period.

Lanphier clawed back and trimmed the lead to 67-62 with 1:18 to play. But a basket by Loving and two free throws by Jayone Troutman, sealed the win for the Hawks.

Loving had a game-high 13 rebounds to go along with his 15 points.

We had our pity party at dinner last night and they got it out of their system and realized that there was more basketball to be played, Hillcrest coach Don Houston said. We were in the Final Four of the state and we have a lot of things to look forward to in the future.

Brent Buchanan and Troutman each added 15 points for Hillcrest, and Javon Morning was the fourth player in double figures with 12.

Larry Austin led Lanphier with 16 points. TJ Davis scored 15 points and Everett Clemons had 14.

Lions coach Chuck Shanklin said it was Hillcrests length and athleticism that caused problems.

They are tall, long and they are quick," Shanklin said. "Our pressure did not get to them and they were able to pass over anything we were trying to do.

"Our hats go off to them. They are a great team. I am proud of my teams effort and what we accomplished this season."

Five Things from Blackhawks-Flames: Same old story on the penalty kill

Five Things from Blackhawks-Flames: Same old story on the penalty kill

Here we go again.

Listen, it’s been one of those nights for everyone, including the Blackhawks. So let’s just save ourselves some time and get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames.

1. Good and bad about the penalty kill. OK, let’s start with the good. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill was successful on their last three penalties, including Tyler Motte’s double-minor high-sticking. The bad news is they allowed goals on their first two kills and have now given up 14 in seven games. So what worked on the three late penalty kills? "We just kept our feet moving. We were working. Our shifts were 20 to 30 seconds tops. When you go that short you have the energy to outwork the power play and make up for being down one man," captain Jonathan Toews said. "Yeah, I mean, I think that’s the key right there, and I think our systems fall into place when we’re all moving and we’re all skating the right way."

2. Puck possession. When the Blackhawks are playing at their best, they are dominant in this department. They looked discombobulated in this one from the start and had very little possession, especially early. "Our identity in the past was fast and having the puck. Now we don’t have quite the four-line rotation or the puck enough to get that precision we look for, that identity we’re accustomed to having," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We’re not playing as fast because we’re defending a lot more than we’re used to."

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3. Forsling hurt. Blackhawks rookie defenseman Gustav Forsling was injured in the second period and did not return. Forsling took a big hit from Lance Bouma along the glass between the two benches. Quenneville said Forsling is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The Blackhawks have better depth at defense this season. Now, with Trevor van Riemsdyk out for a few weeks and Forsling potentially missing some time, they’ll need all of it.

4. Corey Crawford doing just fine. Yes, he’s part of the Blackhawks’ penalty kill that is not doing much of anything right now. But he’s also been stellar at 5-on-5, where he’s allowed just three goals this season. If not for Crawford tonight, the Blackhawks aren’t in striking distance when the third period begins and they probably don’t earn that overtime point.

5. Brian Elliott just a little better. Elliott stymied the Blackhawks in Game 7 of their first-round series last spring, and he aggravated them again on Monday night. Richard Panik nearly had the winner on Elliott until the Flames goaltender stopped his shot with his right skate. Elliott was also good in overtime (6-for-6), when the Blackhawks had a 4-on-3 power play. The Elliott of Monday night is the Elliott the Flames were hoping for when they traded for him this offseason.

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