Blackhawks

Crete-Monee clinches Southland Conference title

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Crete-Monee clinches Southland Conference title

Friday, Feb. 25, 2011
10:25 PM

By Dale Bowman
YourSeason.com

Behind Greg Mays' 14-point first half, No. 12 Crete-Monee clinched the Southland Conference title with a 58-39 victory over Bloom Friday night in Chicago Heights.

The 6-9 senior paced the Warriors (21-3, 9-1) to a 26-19 halftime lead.

"It was just instinct that took over,'' said Mays, who finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

"Our last few weeks, he has been phenomenal,'' Crete coach Matt Ryndak said. "He has been active. He is finally getting back to form after three months without contact.''

The Warriors stretched the lead to double digits, 33-21, on a three-pointer by Jamee Crockett (13 points).

"We came out in the third quarter and turned it up,'' Ryndak said. "We rebounded the ball, which let us run a little bit.''

"The last seven or eight games, we have gotten behind, then have to battle back,'' Bloom coach Jasper Williams said.

And the Trojans (15-9, 7-3) did, cutting the lead to 35-33 on a jumper by Johnny Griffin. But then the Warriors held the Trojans without a field goal for the next eight minutes and pulled away.

"We kept our composure,'' Mays said.

And it helped that junior Michael Orris hit a three-pointer and two free throws as the Warriors built their lead back to 40-33 at the end of the third quarter.

"Jamee and Orris were the guys I challenged at the half,'' Ryndak said.

Crete-Monee botched three dunks on the night, two by Crockett and one by Mays.

Jeremy Roberson led Bloom with 12 points, and Dejahown Freeman added seven.

"The last eight or nine games, we haven't been playing Bloom basketball,'' Williams said.

Start of the Blackhawks Dynasty, Part 4: Roster overview

Start of the Blackhawks Dynasty, Part 4: Roster overview

In a 10-part series, we look back at the 10-year anniversary of the 2008-09 season, the start of the Blackhawks dynasty.

Starting a dynasty means you have to identify a group of core players to build your team around. Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews were those guys, along with Marian Hossa, who joined that mix later on.

You also need a mixture of young talent and strong veterans to fill out the depth to become successful. That's exactly what the Blackhawks had at the beginning of their dynasty and throughout.

On the first day of NHL free agency in 2008, the Blackhawks inked All-Star defenseman Brian Campbell to an eight-year deal, which solidified Chicago as a destination players wanted to commit to long term. That same year, Kris Versteeg emerged as the Blackhawks' third Calder Trophy candidate in two years, Martin Havlat and Andrew Ladd set a career high in points with 77 and 49, respectively, while youngsters Dave Bolland, Troy Brouwer and Dustin Byfuglien began to make a name for themselves as valuable pieces to the puzzle.

"Real good group of guys," Joel Quenneville said on Oct. 18, 2008. "I can say that it's the first time I walked in the room where, wow, I was impressed."

Six of the Blackhawks' Top 10 scorers in 2008-09 were aged 23 or younger. The average age for the other four? 27. The youth movement was real and they all contributed in a big way.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Cubs offense takes a step in right direction, when will rotation follow?

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Cubs offense takes a step in right direction, when will rotation follow?

For the first time in almost two weeks, the Cubs offense started to look more like the team we know they can be in Wednesday afternoon's victory over the Brewers. But when will the starting rotation follow? Kyle Hendricks pitched better than his stat line once again, but it's getting late in the season to continue to use that rationale for any Cubs starter.

Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki break down the Cubs-Brewers series and Kelly sits down with David Bote for a 1-on-1 chat about his whirlwind week. Leila Rahimi also catches up with MLB Network's Dan Plesac to get his thoughts on Javy Báez's place in the NL MVP race, how the Central division is shaping up and X-factors for the Cubs and Brewers down the stretch.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: