Top teams, sold out gym and ESPN cameras make Chicago Heights Classic special

2013-11-28T19:50:00Z 2013-11-29T00:01:12Z Top teams, sold out gym and ESPN cameras make Chicago Heights Classic specialJason Vignone Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
November 28, 2013 7:50 pm  • 

CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Just pulling into the parking lot at Marian Catholic on Wednesday night was indication enough that this would be something more than a typical November basketball game.

Hundreds of fans lined up at the doors hoping to get into sold out Casey Court. An ESPN trucks took up a quarter of the main parking lot. It looked more like something from Mid-March than late November.

That was the scene as Times No. 1 Marion Catholic, led by Kentucky-bound Tyler Ulis, and Times No. 5 Homewood-Flossmoor prepared to battle it out for a spot in the Championship game of the Chicago Heights Classic Tournament.

The game lived up to the billing and Ulis didn’t disappoint in front of a national television audience, scoring a game-high 24 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 5 assists to lead the Spartans to a 69–66 victory and a spot in the final.

“You can’t ask for more on November 28,” Homewood-Flossmoor coach James McLaughlin said. “It’s what we call a tell game; it tells you what you can and can’t do and what you need to work on. This kind of atmosphere is a great situation to find out where we’re at.”

The game had all the drama of a Super Sectional matchup as two teams loaded with talent and with high expectations battled until the last second when Homewood Flossmoor’s Dorian McCraney’s three-point attempt that would have sent the game into overtime fell just short with a second left on the clock.

But this is what holiday tournaments are all about.

They’re a chance to face tough competition early in the season and see what your team is made of, and to get them a feel for playing in a high pressure situation. It's a chance for some early seasoning to make sure they are ready for the big stage when playoffs roll around.

“We have a young team so this was a great learning situation,” McLaughlin said. “Our guys are still learning how to play together but this group hates to lose. Tonight was about getting after it and getting better, hopefully we’ll get another crack at them in March.”

For the players it’s a chance to make a statement and get themselves ready for bigger games in the later stages of state playoffs.

“There’s a lot of pressure, one of our goals coming into the season was to win the Chicago Heights Classic,” Marian Catholic Senior Terrone Parham said. “Games like this help get us ready for tough games down the road. We have great expectations this season and this helps prepare you for Sectionals and Super Sectionals.”

If Wednesday night was any indication both teams look ready to make a deep run this spring, after building a 16-point lead in the third quarter Marian Catholic had to hold on tight as the Vikings stormed back in the game’s final three minutes.

“We struggled in the playoffs last year against teams with a lot of length,” Marian Catholic coach Mike Taylor said. “We put together a schedule like this to get us there; we play a lot of teams that are long here. This is something we can look back on and build on as we go forward.”

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which local girls volleyball regional qualifier will most likely reach state?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses