MANTENO | Midway through the fourth quarter, Illiana Christian's Jon Zandstra came off a screen, squared up and swished a 3-pointer. Zandstra's jumper from the left side was the exception and not the rule on Friday night in the Class 2A Manteno Regional championship game.
The Vikings couldn't regain the shooting touch they had in Wednesday night's win against Momence and fell to Bishop McNamara 70-46.
"We couldn't find the hole," Illiana coach Thomas Roozeboom said. "Our outside shooting was off. We had some nice inside shots, but we were 6-for-12 from the line. That didn't help.
"It was unfortunate we couldn't find the range that we needed."
After shooting 60 percent from the field, including 9-of-13 3-pointers Wednesday, the Vikings finished a paltry 15-of-48 (31 percent) from the floor. That included 2-of-13 behind the arc.
"The effort was there but we weren't hitting our shots like usual," senior forward Joel Ooms said. "I don't know. We missed a lot of shots and free throws we normally put in. They just weren't falling."
Even with the poor shooting effort, the Vikings (12-16) hung tough with the top-seeded Irish, trailing just 19-12 after one quarter and 35-25 at halftime.
"I thought we had a pretty good chance of playing a decent second half, and we still couldn't find our range," Roozeboom said.
After Illiana scored the first basket of the third quarter, Bishop McNamara went on a 10-0 run to bump the advantage to 45-27 with less than five minutes left in the period.
"Those first three minutes, we wanted a 6- or 8-0 run — four stops and four good possessions on offense," Irish coach Justin LaReau said. "I felt like we got that, and that kind of gave us the breathing room to really execute the half court and take some time off the clock and run the game how we wanted to run it."
The Irish (19-11) didn't let up and took their biggest lead at 61-35 before Zandstra hit the three.
Junior Brandon Martin, who led Illiana with 12 points, said they proved a lot of people wrong in the regional.
"We haven't had a bad season, but they thought we were going to be out first game," he said. "I'm glad we got to experience this because I think that will make us more hungry next year."
Elijah Lares added 10 points for Illiana. Bishop Mac's Michael Hoekstra led all scorers with 18.
"We were better than what we showed on the scoreboard," Roozeboom said. "That's not indicative of who we are, but I give credit to Bishop Mac. They came out and did what they needed to do. They were better than us tonight."