FLOSSMOOR | History repeated itself Friday night, so Thornwood's postseason stay became history as well.
Homewood-Flossmoor saw to that by making the Thunderbirds mistake-prone, just as was the case in the two teams' season opener at the Chicago Heights Classic in November. Then, Thornwood committed 26 turnovers and wound up losing a four-point decision.
In the Class 4A H-F Regional final, the T'birds were guilty of 21 miscues, which undermined their victory bid and eventually helped saddle them with a 59-53 defeat.
The Vikings (21-7) advanced to Wednesday's Lockport Sectional semifinal against Andrew, which beat Marian Catholic on Friday night. Thornwood closed out its 2011-12 campaign at 21-7.
"It was kind of a mirror of that first game," T'birds coach Paul Slavich said. "We knew we had to take care of the ball in order to beat them, but the (defensive) pressure got to our guards. We practiced against it, but we can't simulate their length."
"Everyone (on H-F) is long and athletic, but we didn't play very good," guard Darell Combs said. "We just got out of (playing) Thornwood basketball and tried to do things on our own."
Nevertheless, the squads exchanged the lead 10 times and were tied four other times. Antonio Bishop's basket snapped a 51-all tie and put the Vikings ahead for good with 2:11 remaining.
H-F went on an 11-4 run after Justin Kennedy's two foul shots had given Thornwood its last lead at 48-47.
"Being in a lot of close games (during the regular season) gives us an advantage in the playoffs," said Vikings forward Tim Williams, who totaled 15 points and 10 rebounds. "We know what to do in the last couple minutes."
Also benefiting H-F was a 20-of-24 performance at the foul line. Tops in that category for the Vikings was guard Tyrone Sherman, who went 13-of-14 overall and sank four free throws in the final 13.4 seconds.
"It's the playoffs and everybody has to be ready," said Sherman, who scored a game-high 19 points. "We just had to focus to play hard."
"It was like a classic SICA East game," H-F coach Jim McLaughlin said, referring to the now-defunct conference to which both the Vikings and Thornwood belonged for years. "(The T'birds) are a great basketball team -- how those guys got the No. 6 seed, I'll never know."
Combs, who'll play at Loyola next year, concluded his prep career with a team-best 18 points for Thornwood. Fellow senior Khapri Alston also netted 18 points, to go along with 12 rebounds.