SOUTH HOLLAND | Seton Academy's Kamal Shasi knows how to be cool in pressure situations.
He has had plenty of practice.
Most recently, with the Sting down four points with 6.7 seconds left in the first overtime and facing elimination by the hosts in the Class 2A University of Chicago High Regional semifinal, Shasi made a 3-pointer and was fouled. He made the ensuing free throw as the Sting went on to win in double overtime.
Seton faces Providence-St. Mel tonight in the Joliet Central Supersectional with a trip to Peoria for the state finals on the line.
A win would mean the second trip to the state final after the Sting took it all in 2009.
"You cannot be afraid to miss and not be scared to shoot," Shasi said. "Some guys don't want the ball in those situations, but I do. You have to just focus and make the shot.
"The game is on the line, but you can't think that."
Thomas said that in the win over the University of Chicago High, the key wasn't so much as Shasi being fouled as what he did to get fouled.
"Kamal went right after the guy and I think he came so fast and fired the shot, the player didn't have time to move out of the way," Thomas said. "I was talking with DJ Cooper, who was 'Mr. Big' and I told him we got a new 'Mr. Big.' Kamal has been that for us."
Cooper was The Times Player of the Year in 2009 and now stars for Ohio University.
Shasi hit big shots this year against Marist, Providence and Brother Rice. He said he has gained confidence from one of his misses.
"The (Crete-Monee) game (at the McDipper), I had the opportunity to win it for us and the shot didn't go in," Shasi said. "After that, I wasn't going to let my teammates down. I want to be the one to step up when the game is on the line."
Seton coach Brandon Thomas said he has the utmost confidence in his junior guard.
"When Kamal is shooting with the game on the line, I fully expect it to go in," Thomas said. "I have that much confidence in him. You don't have to worry if he is going to shoot it too hard or too soft. Kamal has the right touch."
Shasi also excels in the classroom as he said he is No. 6 in his class and wants to be a doctor.
"Probably orthopedics or something with sports medicine," Shasi said. "I have several doctors in my family and with me playing sports, it is kind of a natural to be involved in sports medicine."
On the court, he is averaging 13.0 points, 3.5 assists 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game.
"There is no pressure to score because any one of us can score," Shasi said. "We have depth and are all working together."