Bulls

Mark Weems goes off as Seton tops Hales

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Mark Weems goes off as Seton tops Hales

By Patrick Z. McGavin
Yourseason.com

The state tournament is a different beast. Even the courts take on a magnified importance.

Seton coach Brandon Thomas played a shorter rotation than usual. It meant Mark Weems Jr. had an even greater role than normal. Weems responded in grand style.

The 6-2 junior guard scored a career-high 30 points that powered the Sting to a 62-55 victory over defending state champion Hales in a U-High Class 2A regional final at the University of Chicago Friday night.

We normally play a much deeper bench, but we press a lot, and playing on the bigger floor, we did not press, especially the kind of trapping defense we normally play, Thomas said. Mark usually plays about 19, 20 minutes a game. Tonight, he played 30 or 31.

Winner of five consecutive regional crowns, Seton (25-4) advances to play Herscher at the Tigers own sectional Wednesday night.

Thomas does not permit his players to talk to the media. Weems game spoke volumes.

The game often turned on a scintillating battle between top Catholic League guards, Weems and Hales 6-5 star Eddie Alcantara (23 points, nine rebounds, four steals, three assists).

Weems scored 16 points in the first half and Seton built an early 11-point lead in the second quarter. Alcantara responded by scoring 13 points in the first half. He nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key that pulled the Spartans (11-18) within 28-24 at the break.

Thomas is a protg of Hales coach Gary London. Weems outburst surprised London.

We knew he was a big part of what they do, but I knew he was capable of making shots, but not that many, London said.

Senior forward J.R. Tolliver added 11 points for the Sting. Junior guard Kamal Shasi contributed eight points and senior guard Jordan Foster scored seven.

Alcantara scored on a beautiful baseline drive and floater over 6-9 Russell Robinson Jr. that pulled the Spartans within 46-43. Weems, who scored nine points in the fourth quarter, put the game away with a three-point play off a Hales turnover that capped a 7-0 Seton run with 2:57 remaining.

Hales junior guard Shaquon Alexander hit four three-pointers in the second half in scoring 14 points for the Spartans. Senior forward Willie Allen scored eight points.

Hales converted just 3-11 from the free throw line in the second half.

Weve struggled with our free throw shooting the whole year, London said. Weve had some games where we got up to 80 percent, but you just cant shoot free throws like we did tonight, especially in the state playoffs.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

The Bulls square off against the Sixers tonight on NBC Sports Chicago, with coverage beginning at 6:30 with Bulls Pregame Live. Here are three things to watch as the Bulls begin the stretch run of their regular season.

1. The new rotation: Most of the Bulls’ rotation looks the same, but the addition of David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne will have a different feel. The Bulls clearly want to get a look at these guys before the end of the regular season, meaning they’re not just going to get sporadic minutes. They’ll have to play through their mistakes, play out-matched at times and be put in uncomfortable situations. But the Bulls need to see what they have, especially in Payne, who has missed the entire season to this point with a broken foot.

2. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons: They’re quite the 1-2 punch and have the Sixers looking at their first playoff appearance since Derrick Rose hadn’t yet torn an ACL. Yeah, that’s a long time. Embiid just finished his first All-Star appearance (starting in his second year) and Simmons is the front runner for Rookie of the Year. The Bulls will have their hands full with these two. Luckily…

3. Kris Dunn is back: The Bulls wanted to get Dunn some run before heading to All-Star Weekend to play in the Rising Stars Challenge, and he looked healthy in that thumping against the Raptors last week. The good news is John Paxson says Dunn won’t be on a minutes limit, which means he’s healthy. That, of course, is more important than how he’s playing. It’ll be fun to see him, LaVine and Markkanen play together down the stretch. Their numbers together aren’t great, but the Bulls are 2-2 with all three in the lineup, and tanking or not…it’s more fun to watch when those three are rolling. 

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

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AP

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."