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HS boys’ basketball: Southwestern and North Mac humble SCC frontrunner Litchfield

The 2023-24 Carlinville High School boys’ basketball seniors Matthew & Patrick Dunn, Camden Naugle and Cole Sullivan were recognized with their families prior to the Cavaliers’ final home game Feb. 13. Enquirer~Democrat photo by Jackson Wilson.

 

The 2023-24 Carlinville Cavalette seniors Clara Gray, Adelle Hammann and Grace Pigott were recognized with their families prior to the final home CHS basketball game of the season Feb. 13. Enquirer~Democrat photo by Jackson Wilson.

 

Carlinville celebrates Senior Day; Gillespie beats Staunton

By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter

The North Mac and Southwestern boys’ basketball teams each picked up a big victory over South Central Conference frontrunner Litchfield during the final week of the regular season.

Although the opposing Purple Panthers had already locked up a league championship, North Mac and Southwestern spoiled their opportunity of winning the conference outright.

North Mac

Litchfield was undefeated in South Central play entering its Senior Night game Feb. 13, but North Mac stopped the Purple Panthers’ seven-game conference winning streak with a 50-46 victory.

North Mac let a 28-22 halftime lead slip away and fell behind by three entering the fourth quarter but countered a massive coldspell with a 17-10 surge to seal the road win.

North Mac concluded the regular season 6-3 in SCC play after beating Staunton, 50-41, in Virden Feb. 15. This final victory additionally guaranteed the Panthers a winning season at 16-15 overall. Staunton fell to 15-15 on the year and suffered its seventh defeat in nine conference contests.

Southwestern

Two days later, it was Southwestern’s turn to spoil Litchfield’s outright conference celebration.

In what turned out to be one of the wackiest finishes in the history of Piasa Birds’ basketball, Southwestern converted eight unanswered free throws in the final 12 seconds to stun the Purple Panthers, 53-48, on Senior Night, clinching its program’s 1,000th victory all-time and 20th of the 2023-24 season Feb. 15.

Southwestern rallied after trailing 27-16 at the half and finished 6-3 in the SCC.

Had the Birds won at Hillsboro Feb. 13, they would’ve shared the conference crown with Litchfield and Greenville, who both went 7-2. Hillsboro beat Southwestern, 49-43, Feb. 13.

The Piasa Birds are 20-11 overall.

Carlinville celebrates Senior Day

The Carlinville High School senior basketball players and Cavalette dance team members were recognized at the Big House prior to the Cavaliers’ last home game of the season Feb. 13.

This year’s seniors are Matt Dunn, Patrick Dunn, Cole Sullivan, Camden Naugle, Clara Gray, Grace Pigott and Adelle Hammann.

All four senior basketball players started and scored at least one basket, including P. Dunn, who banked in a three-point shot in the game’s final minute. Naugle and M. Dunn scored eight points apiece, tying Triston Thompson for the team lead.

Sullivan added three tallies. Unfortunately, these efforts were far from enough in terms of winning result as Carlinville was overmatched against SCC co-champion Greenville, 59-33.

Gray, Pigott and Hammann concluded the Cavalettes’ final halftime show with a special performance and the dance team additionally honored its retiring head coach, Lynne Evans.

Carlinville closed the regular season with a 40-57 conference loss at Pana Feb. 16. The Cavaliers (2-7 SCC) enter the playoffs 12-19 overall.

Gillespie beats Staunton

In other action, Gillespie pushed past Staunton for its first conference win of the season, 45-43, Feb. 13.

Trailing by six entering the fourth quarter, the Miners used a 21-point outburst in the closing eight minutes to stun the Bulldogs in what turned out to be an emotional Senior Night in “The Pit.”

Gillespie ended a five-game skid and improved to 8-22 overall.

IHSA regionals begin

Feb. 19 marked the start of the IHSA boys’ basketball regionals.

Postseason coverage will be featured in next week’s issue.