LANSING | Close games and comebacks are nothing new for Seton Academy.
Friday, it was another down-to-the wire finish and the Sting came back for a thrilling 73-67 win over Tilden in the Class 2A Illiana Christian Sectional final.
The Sting trailed 49-36 with 2:28 left in the third quarter and it looked like the Blue Devils were on the verge of a major upset. Then, Kamal Shasi and Jaylin Clemons took over as they combined for five 3-pointers, Shasi hit three and Clemons hit two as Seton closed the quarter with 14-2 run.
Shasi's third 3-pointer of the quarter came as time expired and pulled the Sting within 51-50. He finished with 19 points.
"I was concentrating on the basket," Shasi said of the shot. " I just know my team needs me and it's my job to make shots for the team and my team needs me to make shots."
With the win, Seton (21-10) plays Providence-St. Mel at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Joliet Central Supersectional. Seton will be looking to make its second straight trip to Peoria and third overall.
While the run gave Seton confidence, Tilden (15-11) did not give up. The fourth quarter saw seven lead changes and four ties. Shasi said despite his team struggling early, he told them to not give up.
"We knew this could be our last game and we had to leave it all on the court," Shasi said. 'I told them we had to go for and can't have any regrets."
Tilden took its last lead, 67-66 on a Wali Muhammad 3-pointer with 2 minutes left. Seton closed on a 7-0 run as Johnny Patterson hit the front end of a 1-and-1, then closed the game with slam. He finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
"Our defense was much better in the fourth quarter when we got three stops in a row twice," Seton coach Brandon Thomas said. "Before that, I think we only stopped them two times in a row once or twice.
"You have to give Tilden credit as they played hard."
Minnesota recruit Alex Foster got into foul trouble and played just a little over two minutes in the first half. He finished with four points.
Mark Weems Jr. had the hot hand early for Seton as he had 14 of his 18 points in the first half.