White Sox

Lemonts rally stuns Hillcrest


Lemonts rally stuns Hillcrest

By Steve Millar

Lemonts historic regular season ended in storybook fashion Friday night.

The Indians rallied from a 40-26 halftime deficit to stun No. 1 Hillcrest, Joe Hehirs driving layup with 11 seconds left lifting them to a 58-57 South Suburban Blue win in front of a packed house in Lemont.

The win, believed to be Lemonts first over Hillcrest, left the teams to share the Blue title with 13-1 league marks. Its the first conference title since 1991 for the No. 6 Indians (24-2).

This is unbelievable, Hehir said. Coach (Rick) Runaas came here knowing a lot of work had to be done to get us where he wanted us to be. I think weve gone beyond what he wanted us to be and he could have never imagined this.

Hehir (12 points) completed a wild sequence, which featured turnovers from each team, by driving down the baseline for the go-ahead score. Kyle Oden missed a runner in the final seconds for Hillcrest (21-5).

I saw Juozas (Balciunas) get checked and knew I was open in the corner, said Hehir, who was carried on the shoulders of Lemont students after the game. I saw (Jalen Loving) come out to block my shot, so I pump faked and drove. Ill never forget it.

Balciunas (15 points, 6 rebounds) led the Indians, whose balance was enough to overcome a tremendous performance by Hillcrests Jovan Mooring (26 points).

Lemont hit four three-pointers to start a 13-0 run that tied the game at 41 midway through the third.

Hillcrest led 57-53 with 4:47 to go before Mike Wisz (9 points, 12 rebounds) converted a putback, Matt Lipowski (8 points, 8 rebounds) hit a free throw and Hehir scored the game-winner.

We talked at halftime about adjusting defensively, Runaas said. We played a tighter man-to-man and that was the biggest difference.

Jayone Troutman (11 points, 6 rebounds), Oden (9 points) and Loving (6 points, 9 rebounds) contributed for Hillcrest.

MLB Power Rankings: It's Eloy's world and we're all just living in it

MLB Power Rankings: It's Eloy's world and we're all just living in it

Eloy Jimenez is wasting no time endearing himself to the South Side. His game-winning, broken bat homer against the team that traded him away, in his first time back, is the stuff of legend. The Quintana-Eloy trade still probably has 10-15 years of barguments ahead of it, but it's quickly becoming one of the more fascinating storylines in recent memory. 

There's apparently baseball going on outside of Chicago, though, and as it turns out, the teams that were still really good last week are still really good this week. The Astros and Yankees are actually probably getting better. The Orioles are not. 

To the rankings! 


72 Days To Kickoff: West Aurora

72 Days To Kickoff: West Aurora

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: West Aurora

Head coach: Nate Eimer

Assistant coaches: Tony Melchiori (DC), Patrick Stremel (LB), Bob Fowler (DL), Charlie Graves (DB), Tim Phelps (OL/DL), Mike Runge (OL), Ron Murphy (QB), Alex Shaw (WR) and Joe Howell (RB).

How they fared in 2018: 9-2 (8-1 Upstate Eight Conference). West Aurora made the 8A state football playoff and beat South Elgin in the opening round. They lost to Edwardsville in second round action.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 vs Plainfield South
Sept. 6 @ Plainfield East
Sept. 13 vs Joliet Central
Sept. 20 @ Romeoville
Sept. 27 @ Yorkville
Oct. 4 vs Oswego
Oct. 11 vs. Plainfield North
Oct. 18 @ Minooka  
Oct. 25 vs Oswego East

[MORE: 93 Days to Kickoff - Oswego East]

Biggest storyline: A new home in the Southwest Prairie Conference. Can the Blackhawks fare well and keep up their winning ways with a step up in competition?

Names to watch this season: QB Will Tammaru (Sr.) and DE Matt Johnson (Sr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Blackhawks will welcome back 13 returning starters (seven offense, six defense) and feature several multi-year starters. Standout defensive lineman Denver Warren has transferred to Brother Rice. How will roster depth play a role? Overall numbers can be better for every high school program-- including West Aurora.
EDGY's Early Take: Coach Nate Eimer's Blackhawks depart the Upstate Eight and enter the Southwest Prairie. The program has had great success the last four seasons (all playoff berths), with 30 wins to their credit. The program had 30 wins total between 2005-14. West Aurora is pretty stacked with talent and is expected to challenge the upper tier of the newly-realigned league. They look to get back into the state playoff field for the fifth straight season and make a deeper run come November.