MANLIUS, Ill. — Basketball is a game that depends on making shots, and the Alleman boys’ basketball team picked an especially bad night to have one of its worst shooting performances of the season.
The Pioneers shot 11-of-54 from the field as they were defeated by the state’s fourth-ranked club, Winnebago, 59-32 in a Class 2A Bureau Valley Sectional semifinal.
The Indians (27-2) face hosting Bureau Valley (27-4) in Friday’s 7 p.m. sectional final.
Winnebago was led by its 6-foot-9 North Alabama-bound senior center Andrew Morrissey, who scored 21 points with 19 rebounds; Tysheon Waller added 14 points for the Indians, who ran out to a 19-9 lead after one quarter.
Trailing 32-19 at the half, Alleman scored just two points in the third quarter, and the deficit snowballed as the Pioneers struggled to get back into the game.
Alleman coach Kyle Murray said the team got many of the shots it wanted, they simply weren’t falling. But they continued to attack the basket in hopes of getting Morrissey into foul trouble, or finding a trey on a kick-out. Murray said he thought the defensive effort was solid enough.
“A lot of shots that normally fall in the paint for us, we either didn’t finish or anticipated getting blocked,” said Murray. “And outside, we just couldn’t shoot tonight.”
The Pioneers were 1-of-14 from deep. Senior Andrew Barrett, who hit the team’s only triple in the second quarter, fouled out with seven minutes left in the game with a 1-of-12 shooting line, scoring four points and adding eight boards. Fellow seniors Brendan Hird (1-of-8 FGs) and Corneille Logo (2-for-2 in fourth) also scored four points.
“We didn’t hit some of those layups early on, so then we started shooting the outside shots, and those didn’t fall,” said Murray. “Then you start looking around and you start thinking who’s going to make the big shot for us tonight? We just didn’t have one guy who was able to hit it consistently.”
Senior Will Mihm (5-of-16 FGs) led Alleman (15-14) with 11 points. Mihm said it was hard to score in a game that was called to favor physical play more often than not.
“We just rushed shots and didn’t play our game,” said Mihm. “We let the pressure get to us and got away from what we are used to doing.”
Murray, standing beside his dad and assistant coach Hank, credited the seniors following the conclusion of his first year as head coach.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this senior group,” said Murray. “This was an unbelievable way to start our career at Alleman. Those guys won back-to-back regional titles. They left the program in a better place then it was when they started. And I was really fortunate to have them as my first team.
"Hopefully the rest of our program, and the younger kids who are wanting to go to Alleman, can see what’s possible and are ready to put in the work over the summer to get there.”
Aurora Christian 63, Wethersfield 45: Wethersfield senior forward Jacob Schwerbrock did everything he could to extend his prep career Wednesday night, but the 6-foot-8 standout's 26 points weren't enough as the Geese dropped their Ottawa Marquette Sectional semifinal to Aurora Christian.
Top-ranked Aurora Christian will play Annawan on Friday in the sectional final.