LOCKPORT | John Wooden famously said that defense wins championships.
That doesn't make it pretty.
Ugly though it was, Homewood-Flossmoor survived Wednesday to play another day, scoring a 36-22 victory over Andrew in Lockport's crowded gym to earn a Class 4A sectional final date with Bloom Township on Friday.
"A neighborhood game," said Vikings coach Jim McLaughlin. "It'll be a war, a slugfest. We've been doing it for 50 years."
Bloom's won the two scraps so far this season, one of them in overtime. But to get the third meeting, H-F (22-7) had to survive 12-of-29 free-throw shooting.
The Vikings were able to do so because their defense so effectively shut down Andrew's aces, brothers Jawad and Jubril Adekoya. Jawad scored five points, Jubril 14, the latter blanked in the first half and held to 2-of-9 shooting overall.
"(Jubril) and his brother, that was our main focus," said Tyrone Sherman, who led H-F with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. "Had to stop them."
"We had Bishop and Williams (off the bench) to stop Jubril," McLaughlin said. "We really had a good plan in place. When you've got a 6-foot-6 and 6-7 guy against you all night, you're going to make some errors."
That disrupted the Andrew offense, but nobody on the Thunderbolts (24-3) was able to bolster it. Andrew went pointless for 10 minutes 31 seconds before Tyler Hook's free throw, and it was another 44 seconds before the Thunderbolts, Jawad Adekoya doing the honors, scored a field goal.
Not that H-F was taking advantage of its defense. Jawad Adekoya quickly cut the gap to 7-6. But the Vikings were faster to the ball all night, forcing 23 turnovers and making every Thunderbolt alter his shot. Andrew shot 5-of-42 from the field, a combined 0-of-29 in the first and last quarters.
"We didn't have much offense at first," Vikings center Tim Williams said after his seven rebound, seven block performance. "We tried to make up for it on defense. It was a little frustrating at first."
But it worked out well enough for H-F, with Friday's date against the top-seeded Blazing Trojans (26-3) the reward.
"Throw the record books out," McLaughlin said.
And the box score of Wednesday's game with it.