Shoemaker, Wildcats roll past SWSC Red champs from L-W Central in regional semifinal
Last updated 3/4/2020 at 7:31am
A year ago in the Class 4A Oswego Regional championship game, Plainfield Central's furious fourth-quarter rally against West Aurora fell short and the Wildcats were defeated 66-65.
On Friday, the Wildcats will have a rematch with West Aurora, this time for the 2020 Class 4A West Aurora Regional championship.
In the first game of the regional semifinals, the host Blackhawks (10-19), seeded No.14 in the Lockport Sectional, pulled off a shocker eliminating No. 3 Waubonsie Valley (27-5), 47-41.
In the second, regional semifinal of the night, the No.11 Plainfield Central (17-13), sent home No. 6 Lincoln Way Central, 58-44.
The Knights bow out at 23-9 on the season, after winning the Southwest Suburban Red championship.
Led by senior Brandon Shoemaker's double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds, the 'Cats punched their ticket to the championship game at 7 p.m. Friday night.
“Tonight speaks volumes to how strong our conference was this year. Night in, night out it is a battle and anyone can beat anyone," said Plainfield Central coach Gregg Bayer. "The strength of our conference prepared us for our game tonight against a quality opponent in Lincoln Way Central.”
The 6-foot-2 Shoemaker led the Wildcat glass cleaners with his 10 boards, but received a lot of help from his teammates.
Six-foot-4 center, Joe Edozie hauled down eight rebounds, five in the fourth quarter, and tallied seven points, while 6-foot-3 Mekhi Lunford hauled down three of his six boards in the all-important fourth quarter and scored nine points.
"I played so hard tonight because I did not want to go home," Edozie said. "I want to go to practice tomorrow and keep on playing. The West Aurora game is a rematch from last year. We lost to them one point. It will be a great game, Friday night."
"This was ab big win for us and we played well both on the offense and our defense," Lunford said. "Yes sir, we really wanted to be animals on the glass. Every rebound counts."
The Johnson rothers, Javari (13 points, three steals) and Tavari (two points, four rebounds), who have led the Wildcats all season, contributed to the huge Wildcat win.
After Lincoln-Way Central junior sharp-shooter Nick Tingley (15 points) buried four three-pointers and scored 14 first-half points, the Johnsons shut Tingley down in the second half.
Shoemaker scored seven, first quarter points, while Tingley, buried a pair of 3's, as the game was deadlocked at 12, after one quarter. Shoemaker's 13 first-half points, gave the Wildcats a 27-22, first-half lead.
Lunford and Javari Johnson, both tallied five, third quarter points, as the 'Cats extended their lead to 39-28, after three quarters.
With 3:43 left, junior Kam Flowers (six points, two 3's) buried a three-pointer from downtown Aurora, to give the 'Cats a 43-32 lead. Shoemaker scored eight points, in the fourth quarter, six from the free-throw line.
"We played so well tonight and collectively we did an outstanding job on the glass," Shoemaker said."We have no one 6-foot-8 but we play like we are 6-foot-8. We went it to tonight's game as the underdog and we wanted to show,what we are all about."
Plainfield Central misfired on 13 of their 23 charity-tosses on the night for their only blemish.
"We don't have any 6-foot-8 kids but what we do have is a number of kids who really go after rebounds," Bayer added. "Because of our offensive rebounding, we were able to get some easy baskets. Everyone contributed to our huge win tonight. We are really looking forward to playing West Aurora again on Friday night. It should be a fun game."