Blackhawks

'Three Amigos' are IBCA Hall of Fame inductees

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'Three Amigos' are IBCA Hall of Fame inductees

The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame inductees for the class of 2013 will include former Simeon stars Ben Wilson and Nick Anderson, Dusty Bensko of Pleasant Plains, Michelle Hasheider of Okawville, Terri Zemaitis of Downers Grove South, Carver's Ken Maxey and Proviso East's famed Three Amigos--Donnie Boyce, Michael Finley and Sherell Ford.

Although the IBCA's Hall of Fame has been moved to Danville, the organization's annual Hall of Fame induction banquet will continue to be conducted at Braden Auditorium on Illinois State's campus in Normal. The 2013 event will be Saturday, April 27.

As a junior, Wilson led Simeon to the 1984 Class AA state championship. A few months later, he was acclaimed the No. 1 player in the nation after participating in the Nike camp. On the eve of Simeon's first game of the 1984-85 season, he was shot to death by a gang member outside his school.

Anderson was a two-time All-Chicago Area selection at Prosser, then decided to transfer to Simeon as a junior so he could play with Wilson. As a senior, he was named Illinois' Mr. Basketball and went on to outstanding careers at Illinois and the NBA.

Bensko was one of the best all-around athletes in state history. In an unprecedented achievement, he led Pleasant Plains to the Class A state titles in basketball and baseball as a junior in 2000. He was named to USA Today's All-America team. He scored 2,488 points in his basketball career.

Hasheider was Illinois' Ms. Basketball in 1994, was a two-time All-Stater, scored 2,026 points in her career and led Okawville to the Class A championship in 1994 and second place in 1993.

Zemaitis was a two-time All-Stater who led Downers Grove South to a 27-5 record and the Class AA quarterfinals in 1994. She also was one of the nation's leading volleyball players and later starred on Penn State's NCAA championship team.

Maxey was the backcourt leader of the Carver team that won the 1963 Class AA championship, beating Centralia in one of the most dramatic finishes in state tournament history. He went on to play with Carver legend Cazzie Russell at Michigan.

Boyce, Finley and Ford led Proviso East to the Class AA title in 1991. Ford was the Chicago area's Player of the Year and was a standout at Illinois-Chicago. Finley went on to outstanding careers at Wisconsin and the NBA. Boyce, who played at Colorado, currently is the head coach at Proviso East.

The annual Buzzy O'Connor Award for contributions to basketball will be presented to Jim Harrington, former coach at Weber and Elgin. Harrington was inducted into the IBCA Hall of Famein 2001. His son, Sean, a 1999 Elgin graduate and the school's all-time leading scorer, was inducted in 2011.

Here are other inductees in the class of 2013:

Players: Wilson; Anderson; Bensko; Hasheider; Zemaitis; Boyce; Finley; Ford; Ashley Berggren, Barrington; Justin Brock, Liberty; Greg Cruse, Goreville; Roland Duke, Dundee; Larry Gorman, Oak Forest; John Guderjan, Mid-County; Gary Jackson, Blue Mound; Sean Knox, North Greene; Kelly Miller, Lake Park; Ron Rigoni, Danville; Reggie Rose, Hubbard; Jordan Roth, Pleasant Plains; Daryl Schaffeld, Fremd; Ed Schumacher, Vocational; Corinne Vossel, Hersey; Shawn Watts, Thornton; Sarah Weiss, Libertyville.

Coaches: Bob Barnett, Hampshire; Jack Blickensderfer, Meridian; Sara Kinney, Chillicothe; Mike Miller, Rockton Hononegah; Scott Olson, Rock Falls.

Career Coaches: Scott Buzard, Glenview Springman; Dennis Cromer, Bensenville Fenton; Gary Harlacher, Geneseo; Mike Kiss, Geneseo; Greg Rigoni, Hickory Creek; Jerry Schmitt, Minonk Fieldcrest; Mike Schnable, Oswego; Ken Wildhaber, Highland; Matt Yarcho, Morton.

Teams: Glenbrook North boys 2005; Seneca boys, 2006; Carrollton girls, 2001; Carrollton girls, 2002; Buffalo Grove girls, 2000.

Officials: Terry Andrews, Bridgeport; Mark Cladis, Chicago Heights; David Collins, Bethalto; Julie Colwell, Lincolnwood; David Hancock, Orion; Dave Hasley, Abingdon; Dave King, St. Charles; Jim McKenna, Chicago.

Media: Scott Busboom, Decatur; Don Hamilton, Jacksonville; Tom Kelly, Encino, Calif.; Randy List, Centralia; Don Werntz, Freeport.

According to Chuck Rolinski, longtime executive directortreasurer of the IBCA and one of its co-founders, the Danville area Convention and Visitors Bureau is in charge of securing a permanent home for the IBCA's Hall of Fame.

Executive director Jeanne Cooke has made a decision to put the IBCA's Hall of Fame plaques and memorabilia in the Convention Center. It will have its own entrance with 4,000 square feet of space. An architect has been hired and remodeling of the space will begin in the near future.

Blackhawks’ much-maligned power play is now clicking

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks’ much-maligned power play is now clicking

It’s an annual rite of passage if you cover or are a fan of the Blackhawks: you question the power play, because there always seems to be an issue with the power play. You wonder why every season, given the talent on this team. And again this fall the power play has sputtered.

But a funny thing happened at the end of the weekend. The Blackhawks’ power play started to look good, started to generate chances and started to score. In 10 games prior to the Blackhawks’ Nov. 12 game against New Jersey they had just three power-play goals in 40 opportunities. In their last three games (vs. the Devils, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins), they’ve tallied five goals on 13 opportunities.

So what’s been working?

“I’ll probably give you the same answer as when it wasn’t working: pucks to the net, guys in front,” Patrick Sharp said. “We have the shot mentality more so than just moving it around and getting it set up. You look at the goals we’ve scored, it’s nothing overly complicated. It’s just getting the puck to the net. Just stay with it.”

Sounds simple enough, but the stay-with-it part has probably been the toughest segment of the equation. When the Blackhawks slumped they really slumped, and their lack of confidence on the power play was as evident as their lack of scoring on it. Yes, stressing over it can have its affect; and when the Blackhawks got those two power-play goals against the Devils it seemed to be a release.

“You get one, that weight gets lifted off your chest a little bit, you can play a little loser and maybe not grip your stick as tight as when things weren’t going well,” Cody Franson said. “When you’re confident out there you’re moving the puck cleanly, things happen a little quicker for you and give you those better looks at good chances. When you’re not that confident sometimes you’re not executing as well and things were moving slower and you’re not generating too much. Confidence definitely plays a big part in it.”

So back to what’s working. The Blackhawks started becoming more active on the power play, cutting down on the passes and increasing the shots. They’ve been there for rebounds. They started feeding off the success, be it with the power play as a unit or with individual performances. Artem Anisimov has returned to being a force at the net again; of his five goals in his last three games, two are power-play goals.

“A couple of broken plays and sometimes you get some breaks. You win a faceoff and make a quick little play after a couple of great opportunities on the prior whistle there that didn’t go in. I just think shots at the net and traffic and off that, sometimes they go in,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Our entries have always been alright this year, so we’re getting zone time and let’s get some simpler looks and sometimes they go in. I think gaining confidence there, it seems like we’re having the puck more and longer and sustaining some offense off it.”

The Blackhawks have struggled more than they’ve succeeded on the power play the last few seasons. But as their overall scoring has increased again, so has their power-play production. Good timing.

“People tend to say the power play can keep you in games and the penalty kill can win you games. Our penalty kill’s been great and has given us chances in a lot of games. [Corey Crawford’s] been playing pretty well,” Franson said. “And when our power play can give us success we find ourselves in better situations to try and win games.”

High School Lites Podcast: Rules, regulations ... and repeat champions?

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High School Lites Podcast: Rules, regulations ... and repeat champions?

Can Prairie Ridge repeat as state champions? Will Rochester and IC Catholic Prep do the same? It’s championship weekend at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb for IHSA football.

On the latest High School Lites Podcast, Joe Collins and “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran wrap up the 2017 prep season and discuss the games on NIU’s campus this weekend.

Could some contests go down to the last play? A lot of playoffs games have done just that in recent memory. And referees are the ones who keep a continuous rundown of checks of balances as plays and game flow escalate. The guys are joined by Steve Garbaciak, the President of the Joliet Football Officials and member of the IHSA’s official advisory committee and a 25-year veteran of the IHSA. Steve chronicles how the game has changed in the last quarter century, and he details how to maintain judicial balance in games of critical importance.

It's all on the latest High School Lites Podcast. Listen to the episode below: