LANSING | If this one were any closer, you would have needed a barber with a hot towel and and some after shave.
Seton Academy and Hales Franciscan battled down to the wire and Seton came away with a 38-36 win in one semifinal of the Class 2A Illiana Christian Sectional on Wednesday.
The Sting (20-10) will face Tilden, a 55-44 winner over Chicago University High, at 7:30 p.m. Friday for the championship.
In a game where there were five ties and 10 lead changes, Alex Foster's layup with an assist from Kamal Shasi put the Sting up 38-36 with 26.3 seconds left.
Hales (17-13) had one last chance, but E'mon Frison's potential game-winning 3-point attempt came up short at the buzzer.
Foster said this was a tough, hard-fought win by the Sting.
“That shot (by Frison) looked like it was going in," Foster said. I thought for sure it was, but it bounced off the rim and rolled out. I’m so glad it didn’t go in.”
Foster had Seton's final seven points and finshed with nine in a game where the biggest lead was four points, and that was when Hales opened the game with a 4-0 lead. His two free throws gave the Sting a 36-33 lead with 2:57 left, but Hales tied it when Calumet City resident and sophomore Dominic Christian drilled the Spartans' only 3-pointer with 1:17 left.
Seton 58-44 won when the teams last met a few weeks ago.
The Spartans used a slow-down approach and it almost worked.
"They went to a 2-3 (zone) and that made it hard for me to get open," Foster said. "Coach (Brandon Thomas) said to just keep working to get open and I did in the second half."
Thomas did not start Mark Weems Jr. because he said he had a bad week of practice. Weems got into foul trouble, but Kamal Shasi stepped up with a team-high 15 points.
"Coach told me it was my time to step up," Weems said. "He told me the most I ever had against Hales was eight points. Mark struggled a bit and we are brothers. He was struggling, so I had to step it up."