- Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 10:13
- Written by Bobby Leach "The Rooster"
- Category: Sports News
Every once in awhile there is a team that changes the way a community is viewed in the world of sports and not just a school. That was the case for Plainfield East this season whose remarkable season came to a heartbreaking end Tuesday night in Aurora at the Class 4A East Aurora sectional semi-final against West Aurora 58-53.
After winning the regional championship Friday night against Neuqua Valley in a tight 47-45 victory and adding yet one more championship title to their season, the Bengals had hoped that the trophy case would see more hardware for what has been a record setting season for East but it was not to be.
Opening the game on a 7-0 run in front of a capacity crowd, the Bengals (27-2) looked as if they would steam roll the shell shocked Tomcats but Aurora battled back to take a one point lead in the second quarter 17-16. Plainfield gathered themselves and finished the half with an 8-0 run that put them back on top 24-17 heading into the break.
In the third quarter, Mack Brown and DeAndre Brown set the tone with a couple of big three pointers and jumped out to a twelve point 30-18 lead with 4 minutes to play but even that lead wouldn't be safe.
West Aurora (24-5) dominated East on the offensive glass and continued to use second and third opportunities to chip away at the lead. The Tomcats turned to their sharp shooter Juwan Starks who knocked down two big three pointers after being held in check for most of the game and drove for a couple of lay-ups which seemingly stole the momentum back from East.
With the game tied at 43 apiece and 7.4 seconds showing on the clock, East inbounded to senior Myles Walters who let go a three-point attempt that bounced off the rim. Senior center Brian Bennet rebounded and missed a put back then as the buzzer sounded, Dee Brown attempted a tip in that bounced a few times on the rim but failed to drop forcing overtime.
In overtime the Tomcats out rebounded the Bengals 9-3 which really was the difference as they were able to get six points from offensive rebounds in the period, four of which came off missed free throw attempts which simply took the air out of East down the stretch.
As the final buzzer sounded and the Tomcat squad rushed the floor, Straughter and coach Brandon Adkins consoled each other with an embrace but held their heads high as they congratulated the Tomcats after the game.
Senior guard Jawan Straughter set the tone early for East scoring the first points of the game and picked up two steals before finishing his career with 12 points. "In the regional games I feel like I was thinking too much and didn't play my best," said Straughter. "I went out tonight and just played basketball and tried not to over think what I was doing. I felt good tonight but I can tell you it doesn't feel good at the moment. We didn't do the little things tonight especially on the boards and that cost us."
"This was a special group and they have given so much to the program," said and emotional Adkins after the loss. "I told them I loved them and was so proud of their effort over the past four seasons...we let one get away from us tonight but this loss will never define our team as far as I am concerned. This was a season I will personally never forget and the quality of kids that played their hearts out to earn every win they had.
West Point bound guard Myles Walters was understandably emotional after the loss but offered "Coach Adkins wears his heart on his sleeve like the rest of us and he really made us all feel like a family which I will never forget. The feeling of this loss will stick with me as I look toward West Point and their basketball program to play for. All I know is I want to work hard in the off season preparing for that team and hopefully never walk off the court in defeat again."
Plainfield East set a new all-time SPC record of 27 wins this season.