MIKE NIETO: Oh, so close for Seton Academy

2013-03-09T23:15:00Z MIKE NIETO: Oh, so close for Seton AcademyMike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
March 09, 2013 11:15 pm  • 

PEORIA | All year Seton Academy has won the close ones.

Saturday night in the Class 2A state championship at Peoria's Carver Arena, the Sting just couldn't finish and fell 50-44 to Harrisburg.

You wonder if the Sting would be celebrating their second state title in five years had the ball had bounced differently and some things went the other way.

If leader Mark Weems Jr. had not been ejected with 2:05 left in the second quarter, I am sure it would have been a different outcome.

Weems was leading the Sting with eight points when he got a double technical foul, one for talking and the other for touching the official. He was fouled on the play by Harrisburg's Tyler Smithpeters. At the time, the Sting was leading 23-15 and looked like it was ready to put the Bulldogs away.

But the momentum swung in Harrisburg's favor. The Bulldogs closed the half on an 8-1 run and trailed 24-23.

If Seton had Weems, it would have been a big difference. He was one of the guys who made big plays on both ends of the court all year.

To Seton's credit, it battled back, but Harrisburg did too. Seton did not really take control of the boards like it should have. Even with Harrisburg's 6-foot-6 Dakota Upchurch on the bench in foul trouble.

The Sting (22-11) just couldn't close out down the stretch. There was something missing with Weems not out there.

Despite not coming back with a state title, the Sting (22-11) had a very good year. Playing the competition they did certainly made them what they are -- a good team that challenged bigger schools all year. Seton Academy is certainly known as a basketball power. Not bad for a school that has had males for just 10 years.

This was a team which lost three of its first five games, but didn't buckle. Even Saturday, this team fought hard to the end. This will be a team which will be remembered for winning the close games and taking charge

For Harrisburg, it was a feel-good story after the town was devastated by tornado in 2012.

The Bulldogs didn't back down after getting down and rode the momentum wave. When they needed a basket or a stop, they were able to do so.

Anyway, it was a good year for Seton and its fans should be proud of the Sting's getting second place.

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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